Bratton Says He’s Too Old to Be Police Commissioner Forever

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NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 25: New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton speaks at a news conference where he discussed the arrest of three Brooklyn men who allegedly plotted to travel to Syria to join ISIS on February 25, 2015 in New York City. The men, two Uzbekistan citizens and a 19-year-old Kazakhstan citizen,all lived in Brooklyn and were corresponding with the terrorist group over social media. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told City & State today that he has no interest in staying with the de Blasio administration if the mayor is reelected in 2017. “I will not be commissioner for six-and-a-half-years,” he said at an event hosted by the publication on Thursday morning. “I’d be 70-some-odd, 75 years old by that time.”

Mayor de Blasio was later asked to respond to Bratton’s escape plans and disputed the police commissioner’s analysis by bringing up the last very successful old person he worked with this week. “I have only this comment: he’s not too old,” de Blasio said. “Having just come back from Rome where I think the most important moral voice on this earth resides and he is well into his 70s and I think it’s fair to say he’s having a huge impact on the discussion and the decisions being made all over the world.”

He added that Bratton is “doing a great job and he should do it as long as he feels it’s what’s right for he and his family” while insisting that “our conception of age needs to change.” 

Besides his age, Bratton also said that he thought he’d been very efficient, and assumed he could finish his to-do list — reducing crime, boosting the morale of the NYPD and the New Yorkers who come into contact with it — by 2017. There are plenty of people who would disagree with Bratton’s self-report card; the City Council has been considering legislation to increase oversight of the police and to question the focus on “quality of life,” or broken windows, policing — arguing that offenders should be ticketed, not arrested. 

Bratton discussed this debate with City & State today, and also called in hundreds of police officers for training on public drinking, urinating, and noise violations, reminding them of what is illegal and what isn’t. The courts in the city have often struggled with how to deal with the hundreds of thousands of minor offenses they have to sift through annually, and many argue that this type of policing targets young, low-income minorities.

There is an intended confusion being created,” he said. “The same advocates that sought to reduce stop, question and frisk are now trying to equate that as the same thing as quality of life — ‘There’s too much quality-of-life enforcement.’ However, there is a distinct difference between the two.”

Earlier this year, de Blasio agreed with Bratton’s view on this issue: “Quality-of-life policing is one of the reasons why we have lower crime than we ever did in history.”