In my 22 years of service in the New York City Police Department, standing on street corners and protecting our children and families, two of the greatest leaders with whom I had the privilege to serve were Commissioner William J. Bratton and Chief of Department Philip Banks III.
When Bill left the department in 1996, I felt it was a tremendous loss for the city.
I feel the same way about the impending departure of Phil from One Police Plaza. While I respect his decision, as I told him personally, I am disappointed that New York’s Finest is losing one of its brightest stars.
When I joined the NYPD back in 1984, I did so with the intent of advancing the diversity of our city’s law enforcement, both in the rank and file as well as in the leadership. Diversity in the NYPD matters.
The first deputy police commissioner job must be filled quickly, and it ought to be filled by a qualified person of color. Commissioner Bratton has the authority to go outside of One Police Plaza, if necessary, to address this void.
Since he took office, Mayor de Blasio has drawn on my law enforcement experience, seeking my counsel on matters regarding public safety and policing minority communities. I have seen him lead from the front in the first 10 months of his administration, helping to repair and rebuild community trust in their police department.