Police 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.”