Soon to be Former-Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the greatest regrets he has are having to lay to rest officers that were killed in the line of duty and not doing more as the city’s top cop to repair racial tensions that threatened the city’s unity.
On Sunday, August 7, a wide-ranging interview with Bratton aired, in which he discussed his legacy as commissioner and expectations for the future, and that he has planted the seeds that will sprout after he is gone. During the ABC’s “Up Close” interview, Bratton told Bill Ritter, “Regrets — There are several.”
“Regrets at the loss of the officers… killed in the line of duty. Regrets that the racial tensions in the city, while I think we are on the path to resolving a lot of those issues, I would have like to have been farther along. Unfortunately, national events and local events have mitigated that,” Bratton said.
He called the 2014 murders of detective Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu “the worst crises in my 45 years in the business.”
Bratton said, “One of those things that I won’t miss… are those calls in the middle of the night, the deaths of the officers that have died during my time… You think of them all the time,” Bratton said. “So I won’t miss that aspect of it. The grief, the consoling that you have to do. It is not easy to do those eulogies, comfort those families.”
He added that he wishes he has done more to help the public understand his officers as well as Mayor de Blasio.
“[The racial tension] has remained unresolved for 400 years,” Bratton said. “It’s flared up as it has over time and I don’t have enough time in my life to resolve it to the satisfaction that I’d like to have reached. I think we have made tremendous strides forward. But the results of that, the seeds that are being planted will sprout up after I’m gone.”
Bratton expressed confidence in that his successor will come from within his department, citing that he has done his best to prepare several people in his leadership team.
“I really committed over these couple of years knowing that I would not stay multiple years, to build a team…. [the mayor] was exposed to it at our weekly meetings. You’re going to see very little movement when I go.”
In September, James O’Neill, the NYPD’s current Chief of Department, will take over the department.