NYPD Top Cop Resigns Unexpectedly Soon, James O’Neil Takes Over

August 2, 2016 Updated: October 5, 2018

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced his resignation Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“It’s now time for me to move on,” Bratton said via FacebookLive.

Bratton mentioned the “crises” facing police nationwide, such as race and terrorism.

“There is no police department better prepared to face what is in the future,” Bratton said. 

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tapped Bratton for the job when he took office on Jan. 1, 2014.

“I don’t think anyone could have imagined a more productive 31 months for the NYPD,” de Blasio said.

“I wish had words for what this man has achieved,” he said. “One thing that doesn’t get talked about with Bill Bratton is his heart.”

De Blasio said Bratton had taught him a lot. “It’s a beautiful thing when you can once again make a place safer, better,” de Blasio said.

Bratton, 68, will be replaced by NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neil.

“I have had all of 16 hours to think of a way forward,” O’Neil said.

The first thing he did was to ensure Ben Tucker, deputy commissioner, was staying. 

“I am absolutely hanging around,” was Tucker’s reply.

Bratton’s departure was expected, but not so soon. He previously said he wouldn’t stay for a second term, if de Blasio was reelected. De Blasio has 16 months to go.

Last week, when the mayor was asked if he already formed a search committee to look for Bratton’s replacement, de Blasio dismissed the idea as premature.

There doesn’t seem to be any pressure on Bratton from the mayor to resign. Just yesterday Bratton said he doesn’t have to fear being fired.

But he did express a wish to leave.

“There’s never a good time to leave something that you love doing, but there’s a right time,” Bratton said at a press conference last week.

Bratton can claim a successful, if short, tenure. Crime rates in the city continue to decrease and he increased the focus on community engagement, attempting to improve relations with minorities.

He also beefed up counter-terrorism efforts, saying he spends 30–40 percent of his time dealing with the issue. The department established new task force, Critical Response Command—a several hundred strong, heavily armed unit trained for counter-terrorism deployments and tasked with guarding critical locations.

Just last week Bratton went ahead with a plan to equip thousands of patrol officers with heavy-duty bulletproof vests and military-grade helmets to protect them when they engage in active shooter scenarios.

He also managed the Black Lives Matter movement protests that stormed the city after an asthmatic black man, Eric Garner, died when an officer put him in what appeared to be a chokehold during an arrest.

Bratton has been criticized by civil rights activists for not scaling back enough on heavy policing in the city, especially when dealing with minorities.

Bratton is expected to stay until September, ABC7 reported.

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