Bill Bratton Says NYPD Morale Was ‘Awful’ Before He Took Over

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New NYPD Commissioner William Bratton took a little swipe at his predecessor and longtime rival Ray Kelly, along with Michael Bloomberg, in an interview with WABC last night, noting that not only has crime continued to fall during his three months on the job, but now no one is mad at the police. “Morale, coming into this department, was awful,” he said. “I’ll be quite frank with you. I don’t think I have an officer come up to me that doesn’t thank me for improving morale. Morale in this organization was awful.”

“The public didn't understand it, politicians didn't understand it,” he continued, “but it was a very dispirited organization. It was an organization, I think, beat down over several years, beaten up by the political establishment and the press.”

The main issue, Bratton said, was stop-and-frisk. “The commissioner and the former mayor did a great job in the sense of keeping the community safe, keeping crime down, but one of the tools used to do that, I believe, was used too extensively,” he said. “Quite clearly, the legacy of that era is now going to be the inspector general … a federal monitor … an enlarged [Civilian Complaint Review Board].”

The wide-ranging interview also touched on the recent security lapses at One World Trade Center, including the BASE jumpers and a wily 16-year-old, incidents Bratton called “extraordinarily embarrassing.” Far from performing a public service by exposing the holes, “They were satisfying their own need for attention and excitement,” he said, not taking the events lightly.

“From my perspective, that jump was a desecration of that site,” said Bratton. “Too many people jumped off that building on 9/11, and to basically photograph that descent, if you will — I have no sympathy for them, I hope the judge throws the book at them.” And the kid, too. “His parents better straighten that kid out — he’s got problems.”