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The Most Powerful Cop in America Is Resigning

Bill Bratton, the biggest name in American policing who's known for controversial "Broken Windows" tactics, is heading back to the private sector.
August 2, 2016, 12:00am
In this January 12, 2015, file photo, New York City police commissioner William Bratton speaks during a news conference at police headquarters in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Bill Bratton, the New York police commissioner best known for controversial "Broken Windows" enforcement tactics as well as low crime rates, is calling it quits after nearly three years running the largest police force in America, the New York Times reports.

Braxton was expected to pivot back to the private sector next month, where he last worked at Kroll, a risk management and corporate investigations firm in New York.

Crime has remained at or near historic lows under Bratton's latest tenure atop New York's police force, but he made his name during a previous stint as commissioner in the 1990s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. That's when the NYPD aggressively pursued "quality-of-life" offenses like turnstile jumping and graffiti, and violent crime plummeted. (The relationship between Bratton's signature approach and crime rates is a source of some contention in the academic and criminal justice worlds.)

Bratton also served as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 2002 to 2009, where he won praise from some community groups for outreach. He seemed to at least attempt to carry over an emphasis on broaching—if not necessarily addressing—the concerns of racial minorities to NYC, but also oversaw the videotaped police killing of Eric Garner, among other flashpoints.

The highest-ranking uniformed officer in the NYPD, Chief James O'Neill, was set to take over in Bratton's stead, though according to the Wall Street Journal, Mayor Bill de Blasio had been interviewing other candidates as he looks ahead to a tough reelection fight in 2017.