William Bratton, whose tenure as commissioner of the New York Police Department in the 1990s was marked by a steep decline in crime and clashes with then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has been chosen to lead the nation's largest police department again, according to two of mayor-elect Bill de Blasio's campaign officials.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement on Thursday. They were informed of de Blasio's decision but not authorized to speak publicly about an administration appointment.
Bratton is being named to lead the NYPD as it tries to maintain a historic drop in crime and an extensive counterterrorism program, even as its tactics have come under increased scrutiny.
Bratton, who has also led the Boston and Los Angeles police departments, will succeed Raymond Kelly, the NYPD's longest-serving commissioner. He is arguably the most important administration appointment for de Blasio, a Democrat who takes office Jan. 1.
Bratton, known for his outsized personality and fondness for the limelight, was police commissioner under Giuliani, a Republican, from 1994 to 1996. He emphasized the broken-windows theory of police work: that criminals who commit small crimes, such as vandalism, also commit more serious crimes.
Bratton helped spearhead the use of CompStat, a data-driven system of tracking crimes that allows police to better allocate their resources to high-crime areas. The real-time system is still used today.
Crime immediately plummeted under Bratton, who benefited from an influx of new police officers.
The year before Bratton took office, there were 1,946 murders citywide; by contrast, in 1996 there were 983, the first time it had dipped under 1,000 since 1968.
But Bratton frequently fought with Giuliani over who deserved the lion's share of the credit. He resigned after two years.