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NYPD Commissioner Bratton Eager To Reach Out To Communities On Stop-And-Frisk

New Top Cop Says It's A 2-Way Sreet, Wants His Officers Viewed Better Than They Are
Bill Bratton is sworn in as 42nd police commissioner of New York City on Jan. 2, 2014. (credit: Rich Lamb/WCBS 880)

Bill Bratton is sworn in as 42nd police commissioner of New York City on Jan. 2, 2014. (credit: Rich Lamb/WCBS 880)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – William Bratton officially took the reins of the nation’s largest police department on Thursday, becoming the 42nd police commissioner at a time when there is a demand for big change, especially in the area of stop-and-frisk.

Bratton was publicly sworn in by Mayor Bill de Blasio at One Police Plaza. Prior to the ceremony, the band played “My Way,” an appropriate choice considering the man taking the reins.

“I  certainly think of myself as a change agent,” said Bratton, who who also served as the department’s 38th commissioner under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Bratton takes over the NYPD with a big burden — keeping crime down and making the department more sensitive to the needs of minority communities, CBS 2 reported.

“What I’ve said to him is clear and concise: I want him to do what he knows how to do best — to use the best technology and tactics, to focus our efforts on the criminals, on the problem areas, on the hot spots to make our streets and neighborhoods even safer,” de Blasio said.

Bratton is a believer in the “broken windows” theory of policing — that if minor, petty crime is not dealt with, crime will increase, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

He believes in an ethnically diverse police force representative of the population, maintaining strong community relations, being tough on gangs and has no tolerance for anti-social behavior, Kramer reported.

Joining Bratton is former CBS News senior correspondent John Miller, who will be in charge of a newly developed counterterrorism unit.

“I think what we’re seeing is a time when the threat has spread out and it’s much more driven, not by al Qaeda’s central command, but al Qaeda-ism on the Internet, where that message has gone forth to a wider group,” Miller said.

Bratton’s biggest challenge will be to keep crime numbers down while reducing the department’s stop-and-frisk program, Kramer reported.

In regard to the controversial policy, the police commissioner emphasized a shared responsibility between police and the community, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

“The public have an obligation, working within their communities — with their kids and their families — to help us,” Bratton said. “We will all work hard to identify why is it that so many in this city do not feel good about this department that has done so much to make them safe. What has it been about our activities that have made so many alienated?”

But for Bratton it’s also about the cops under his command.

“We really are not celebrating the successes that you have achieved in the way that you should and I want to find out why it’s [like] that, because you have accomplished so much,” Bratton said. “The challenge for all of us is to find that disconnection.”

Bratton was also generous in his praise of the man he is succeeding, Ray Kelly, who took over the department right after 9/11.

“Over these 12 years he has committed to keeping this city safe and he has in fact done that. This year, 2013, lowest crime rates ever,” Bratton said. “The effort that has gone into the creation of what is certainly, along with the federal government, the foremost counter terrorism capability in the world has to be  acknowledged and applauded. So I do applaud and understand the shoes that I am stepping into.”

Bratton said Kelly opened the department to his transition team and noted the out-going commissioner even left a personal gift on new year’s, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.

“Compliments of Ray Kelly was a bottle of champagne with a personal note, happy New Year, good luck, Ray Kelly,” Bratton said.

Bratton called the gift a reflection of the man that Kelly is.

It’s still unclear who will serve in the NYPD‘s top leadership positions. Bratton is reviewing the credentials of some 200 current NYPD administrators and has yet to announce his picks.

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