Brooklyn native Jimmy O’Neill to replace Bratton as NYC Police Commissioner
At a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that Bratton is stepping down in September.
Bratton will be joining Teneo Holdings, a global consulting firm, according to AP. There he will head its new risk division, which will advise companies and CEOs on a range of issues from cyber security to anti-terrorism.
His replacement as Commissioner will be Chief of Department Jimmy O’Neill, a native of East Flatbush in Brooklyn. Chief of Housing Carlos Gomez will take O’Neill’s place as chief. Ben Tucker will stay on as first deputy commissioner.
De Blasio praised Bratton’s teamwork building skills, dedication and “heart,” and credited Bratton with driving down crime “while repairing the rift between the police and the community.”
De Blasio seemed genuinely moved as he made the announcement and said that he and Bratton had developed an important bond. “This extraordinary friendship and deep connection will continue.”
He also celebrated the transition’s continuity.
“We have found the perfect person to replace him in Chief Jimmy O’Neill,” de Blasio said. He called O’Neill “one of the best prepared incoming police commissioners this city has ever seen. He said O’Neill has decades of experience and created the vision of the city’s neighborhood policing strategy.
“Never in my life since I came on this job… did I think I’d be standing at this podium,” O’Neill said.
He said he sees the appointment as an invitation “to continue and see through to fruition all the work of the past 31 months.”
O’Neill started as a patrolman in the transit system. He has been chief of department since November 2014.
“As the architect of our neighborhood policing program, Jimmy O’Neill has built a national model for bringing police and the community together to fight crime,” de Blasio said. “As the top-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD, Jimmy has spent each day ensuring that New York City remains the safest big city in America.”
De Blasio said that neighborhood policing, which will roll out in 51 percent of the city’s precincts this fall, is the future of the city’s policing policy.
“New Yorkers say we remember the cop on the beat … We yearn for those days. We want to see today’s version of that.”
According to AP, however, NYPD critics said Bratton hadn’t come close to ending discriminatory and abusive policing, and they questioned whether elevating his second-in-command would make a difference.
“So-called ‘community policing,’ ‘training’ and the rhetoric of ‘police-community relations’ are no solution to the systemic problems with policing in this city and nation,” Communities United for Police Reform, a group that advocates for changing police practices, said in a statement.
Under Bratton, the NYPD has drastically scaled back stop-and-frisk, but stepped up enforcement against of so-called “quality of life” offenses. According to AP, critics said that approach, known as “broken windows,” unfairly targeted minorities and came into play in the chokehold death of Eric Garner during his arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Garner, who was black, was unarmed; Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who put his arm around Garner’s neck, is white.
De Blasio said that O’Neill was intimately involved in the NYPD’s CompStat program as well.
O’Neill said he will continue Bratton’s policy of going after repeat offenders, who commit the largest proportion of crimes, while also focusing on terror and supporting the people’s right to protest.
Under Bratton, the NYPD scaled back its “stop-and-frisk” strategy.
According to the Daily News, de Blasio said he was informed of Bratton’s decision on July 8.
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