De Blasio makes some key appointments

Cyril Josh Barker | 1/2/2014, 11:47 a.m.

As Mayor Bill de Blasio takes office this week, he brings several new cabinet appointments that are changing the landscape of the city. The reaction to his appointments have been mixed, from his pick for police commissioner to his pick for schools chancellor. One thing is for sure though, de Blasio’s cabinet is diverse, with representation from Blacks, Latinos, women, seniors and the LGBT community. Here is a look at a few of his key appointments so far.

Police Commissioner: Bill Bratton

Background: Recently served as commissioner over the Los Angeles Police Department and was the NYPD commissioner under Mayor Rudolf Giuliani in the 1990s. He has twice served as president of the Police Executive Research Forum and in 2009 served as president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. As chief of the New York City Transit Police, Boston Police commissioner, New York City Police commissioner and chief of the LAPD, Bratton revitalized police morale and cut crime significantly in all four posts. In New York, he led the development and deployment of CompStat, the command and accountability system that has revolutionized policing all over the world.

PROS: With years of experience under his belt, Bratton knows New York City law as well as its Police Department. He also has experience working in major cities. De Blasio said he chose Bratton because of his policing style.

“He’s focused on preventative strategies, proactive strategies, innovation, the use of the latest technology, but also good old-fashioned understanding that communication at the grassroots—the cop on the beat talking to the neighborhood resident—is fundamental to protecting our city,” he said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Bratton was a “wise choice” because of his experience working with communities.

“His vast experience and commitment to working with communities to improve safety will allow the de Blasio administration to attack persistent crime challenges head-on while maintaining success where progress has been made,” said Adams. “I look forward to working with him in Brooklyn and helping him include the valuable knowledge of anti-violence and community groups on the ground to make our streets safer.”

CONS: While Bratton was NYPD commissioner during his first run, the city saw the birth of stop-and-frisk. Critics say that during his time as commissioner, the NYPD began victimizing communities of color. Bratton has said he believes in the “broken window theory,” which dictates that if petty crime is not dealt with, it will lead to bigger problems. The theory moves away from de Blasio’s pledge to end stop-and-frisk.

“Asking Bill Bratton to come back and stop racial profiling and stop-and-frisk is like asking an arsonist to help you put out fires,” said former Brooklyn Councilman Charles Barron. “For Bill de Blasio to run a campaign on a platform of stopping racial profiling and stop-and-frisk and then select William Bratton to become the new police commissioner is hypocritical. Bratton is the architect of racial profiling

CONCLUSION: While Bratton might have the experience, his past tactics in policing come into question. As the city moves into a “new direction” with de Blasio, police-community relations is a number one issue for many New Yorkers who have suffered at the hands of the NYPD. All eyes are watching for Bratton to change the course of the NYPD.