Police Commissioner William Bratton

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton talks about returning to New York and how he’s changing the department. He’ll be part of a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y on April 19, called “Leadership in the 21st Century: David Gergen with Will Bratton, Stanley McChrystal and Dana Born.”

Bratton has served as police commissioner in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles: “Each city is very different. It’s like a doctor looking at a patient…Having now policed Boston, LA and New York – they are very different patients with very different issues – health issues, if you will.”

“Graffiti is a constant battle…It’s one of the issues I’m going to be focusing on – I’ve already spoken to the mayor about my sense that graffiti is growing in the city now again. And, as a city, we need to basically take it on because that’s the first sign of urban decay.”

On the #myNYPD Twitter campaign and the police activity in the photos that were tagged by users: “A lot of what was occurring [in the photos] was lawful police action. It looks awful, but it’s legal.”

On the role that stop-and-frisk played in last year’s mayoral election: Many voters “felt that something was wrong – and something was wrong.”  But he went on to defend the practice: “That’s the basic tool of American policing. What happened here – it was applied too much, particularly in communities of color. And I think it was misunderstood, the belief that crime was going down because of the application of hundreds of thousands of stops.”