Paul Browne, the New York City Police Department's deputy commissioner for public information and one of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's closest friends and allies in the NYPD, resigned Friday to take a post at the University of Notre Dame. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
More than just a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Paul Browne has been a fierce defender of commissioner Ray Kelly's policies, as well as a counselor, adviser and right-hand man.
"I get the question, 'Don't you get burned out with this job?' Because you do get a lot of bad things happen at 3 o'clock in the morning on a Friday or Saturday night, and you're awakened and expected to respond. And I never got burned out. I never lost sight that it is a privileged position," Browne said.
Browne exited One Police Plaza Friday for the last time after 11 years on the job. He's been working for Kelly far longer, since 1990, just before Kelly's first term as commissioner.
In 1994, Bill Bratton took over under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. That's when Kelly took Browne to Haiti to help run the international police monitors in that country. The two also worked at the treasury department and U.S. customs before returning to the NYPD in 2002.
"He is abandoning ship," Kelly joked. "No, Paul has been absolutely phenomenal. We're going to miss him tremendously. He's done a great job."
Not everyone would agree. During controversies over stop-and-frisk and the surveillance of Muslims, many blamed Browne for spinning stories, sometimes accusing him of being flat-out untruthful.
At one point, one person said, "The Muslim-American community and its allies are tired of the lies and lie after lie after lie the NYPD keeps feeding this community."
At another point, City Councilman Jumaane Williams of Brooklyn said, "The first thing you can do is get rid of Paul Browne, misinformation Paul Browne, liar Paul Browne."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, however, always said no way.
"Paul Browne is as honest and as competent as anybody in the business of representing the city," Bloomberg said.
Reporters knew that sometimes, he would hold back information, and if he thought a reporter was unfair in telling a story, he had no problem calling up to yell and complain about it.
Browne is leaving the NYPD for a new job as vice president of communications at the University of Notre Dame.