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Bratton's Police Commissioner Tenure In '90s Was Filled With Drama

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As the Mayor-elect made announcements Wednesday about some of his top city hall staff, many are waiting to see who he'll tap to be the police commissioner, and plenty of insiders are speculating it will be former commissioner Bill Bratton, whose tenure during the '90s had plenty of drama.


Bill Bratton is known to be tough on crime, but over the years, he's shown that he can also be tough on residents and his own officers if he thinks they get out of line.

When he was police commissioner in the mid-'90s, he lashed out at families who booed him over alleged police misconduct and brutality.

"You're making fools of yourselves. You really are," Bratton said.

Some who attended that Bronx town hall meeting were upset that loved ones had been shot and killed by officers. Bratton was unsympathetic.

"You can't hear the answers we are trying to give you," he said. "You're the same group that shows up at every one of these meetings, the same complaints."

Those comments landed him in hot water with blacks and Latinos, who called it disrespectful and insensitive.

Around the same time in 1995, scores of NYPD officers traveled to Washington for a memorial for fallen officers, but it turned into a rowdy gathering. Some ended up drunk and naked, embarrassing Bratton.

"They are nitwits and morons. I sure do," Bratton said. "Any nitwit that slides down a banister nude in front of 150 people, a moron, guaranteed."

Bratton also had to deal with corruption in the department, including the so-called "dirty 30" at the 30th precinct. Dozens of officers were charged with robbing drug dealers.

He beefed up the Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate crooked cops.

"Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, we'll clearly show that there is a new day in the New York City Police Department," Bratton said.

It was Bratton who instituted Compstat, a computerized program to track crime and flood problem areas with police. There was a big push to correct quality of life issues, such as getting rid of graffiti and squeegee men.

Bratton's star was rising, but his relationship with his boss, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, was fizzling over who should take credit. In two years, Bratton left the department, but would not admit there was a beef with Giuliani.

"There's enough credit to go around," Bratton said. "I am leaving something that I love dearly."

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