James O’Neill to succeed Bill Bratton as NYPD Commissioner

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (right) and his successor, Chief of Department James O’Neill.
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (right) and his successor, Chief of Department James O’Neill.

NEW YORK CITY (TIP): NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is stepping down as the city’s top cop and will be replaced by Chief of Department James P O’Neill in September, Mayor de Blasio announced Tuesday, August 2.

Chief of Department James P O'Neill
James P. O’Neill
Twitter @NYPDChiefofDept

De Blasio lauded the commissioner’s contributions to New York City since taking over the job in January 2014 and praised the man who will replace him, a veteran cop with more than 30 years on the force who grew up in the city and whose experience he said will advance the work of neighborhood policing.

“I don’t think anyone could’ve imagined a more productive 31 months. We will never forget or fail to honor the achievements of Bill Bratton,” de Blasio said.

Under Bratton, the city already has made plans to shift toward that strategy, one predicated on building trust and working relationships between police and communities. O’Neill has been heavily involved in those efforts, and de Blasio said neighborhood policing would be in place in 51 precincts as of this fall.

Bratton’s resignation comes a year after Bratton first told City & State that he was considering not staying on the job after de Blasio’s first term concluded. It also coincides with a recent string of protests by the NYPD Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association against the mayor outside his Brooklyn gym and Upper West Side home – and as Black Lives Matter activists called for de Blasio to oust Bratton.

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De Blasio has struggled to please both police reform advocates who believe he’s not moving quickly enough to institute changes and officers, who have had a tense relationship with the mayor and have taken issue with how he described telling his biracial son to take care if interacting with police.

Bratton will stay on with the department until mid-September to ease the transition, officials said. According to a news release from global consulting firm Teneo, Bratton will join the company as the senior managing director and executive chairman of a newly formed risk management division.

Sources close to the commissioner told NBC 4 New York that the job was a “perfect fit” for financial and lifestyle reasons, and that Teneo wanted him sooner than he had planned to be available.

Of O’Neill, Mayor de Blasio said: “Jimmy is the real thing in every way.”

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