NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton – generally considered to be an effective crime fighter – revealed on Monday that he will not remain in his post if Mayor de Blasio ends up being re-elected to a second term.
“There’s never a good time to leave something you love doing,” Bratton stated, according to the New York Post, “but there’s a right time. I’m not worried about getting kicked out of the place, fortunately.”
While the 68-year-old Bratton did not mention an exact date for his departure, he said he would seek to choose a time that would cause “as minimum disruption as possible.”
“When I left the LA Police Department in 2009, that was the right time,” the commissioner elaborated. “I don’t know about ’96, when I left [the NYPD] in ’96. That might have been the right time for somebody else.”
The relationship between the top cop and the mayor has not always been smooth. The two have held sharply opposing opinions on a range of issues — from the size of the police force to racial matters — but always maintained an image of friendship and unity on the public stage.
Mayor de Blasio lauded Bratton on Monday for doing “an extraordinary job” and said he is free to remain in his position for as long as he wants.
“We’ve said very, very clearly, my point of view is this commissioner is doing a great job,” the mayor emphasized. “He’s made clear he’s not prepared to stay into a second term. I absolutely respect that, especially after all he’s doing for the city over the years, and that’s all there is to say at this point.”
Bratton’s disclosure could have a notable effect on de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign, as the commissioner has publicly defended the mayor and is widely regarded as one of the country’s leading law-enforcement officials.
Bratton pointedly noted that his decision to step down in the eventuality of a second de Blasio term was not in any way based on public criticism of his policies.
“The criticism drives my wife crazy,” he remarked. “Being quite frank, it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve been in the business 45 years. . . and during that time suffered a lot of slings and arrows, and still here standing.”
Both the commissioner and the mayor chose not to comment on a possible replacement for Bratton, although Chief of Department James O’Neill’s name has been floated by some observers. “Kind of jumping the gun on that one,” Bratton stated. “I’m still here. Last time I checked, I’m still here.”
The mayor noted that he has not yet formed a search committee to seek out potential replacements for other officials who might similarly choose to leave before a second de Blasio term. “There’s not any such apparatus in place,” de Blasio affirmed. “And we’ll cross all those bridges when we get to them.”