Commissioner Bill Bratton will step down as the city’s top cop, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a press conference in City Hall Tuesday afternoon.
“In September, Commissioner Bratton will retire from the NYPD,” de Blasio said. Bratton will be replaced by NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill, who began his NYPD career 33 years ago as a transit officer.
O’Neill was born in East Flatbush, according to the City Hall Press Office.
The mayor said O’Neill, “will take the department where the city has never seen before,” and called him the “architect of community policing,” for his work towards building better police-community relations. “It’s a job for a strong man. Someone with a vision of change, reform, and progress,” de Blasio said.
“I’m honored to have this opportunity to further serve this great city and the world’s best police department,” O’Neill said.
De Blasio stressed the importance of neighborhood policing as it continues to grow in precincts all over the city.
“You’ll see what it means in the lives of everyday New Yorkers, when they know the officer who patrols their part of the neighborhood, know the officer’s name, have a sense of personal connection, mutual respect or have a shared mission. That’s going to change the city,” De Blasio said.
O’Neill said he will keep Ben Tucker as First Deputy Commissioner and named Carlos Gomez, chief of housing, as the NYPD’s new chief of department to oversee all officers.
Bratton served two terms as NYPD police commissioner: Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani appointed him to the post back in the 1990s and De Blasio handpicked him in 2013, where Bratton spent 31 months on the job.
He all also served in the Los Angeles and Boston police departments, but always considered himself and “an adoptive son” of New York City.
“It is now time for me to move on,” Bratton said, who plans to “pursue other opportunities,” not in government, but didn’t specify them during the presser.
Last week, Bratton announced he would not return as commissioner past de Blasio’s first term, which ends next year, and he recently endorsed O’Neill as his successor.
The mayor applauded Bratton’s achievements and strategies to keep the city safe and crime low. He also acknowledged their bond at the presser. “I’m happy for your future, but I want you to know this friendship — I’ll miss seeing you every day,” de Blasio said, “But this friendship and this deep, deep connection will continue.”