A Who's Who of local law enforcement jammed into an eighth-floor conference room at NYPD headquarters Tuesday as Commissioner William Bratton dedicated the facility in memory of Jack Maple, the legendary deputy commissioner who pioneered the much-heralded CompStat computer system.
Maple, a Runyonesque cop who died of colon cancer in 2001 at age 47, was the police visionary who came up with idea of using crime statistics and data to change police from taking reports to actually going after criminals with a new sense of urgency in the 1990s. The result was what many experts said was New York City's two-decade crime decline.
"It was in this very room that this genius, this genius, crazy as he was, was in full stride," Bratton told the crowd, which included Mayor Bill de Blasio, former Mayor David Dinkins and actor Tom Selleck, who stars in the NYPD-inspired dramatic series "Blue Bloods."
Also present were Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown and special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
Bratton said that the CompStat center, where police commanders are grilled about crime and what to do about it in their precincts, became "the incubator of extraordinary ideas that changed the face of this city and this country."
In brief comments, de Blasio said that Maple got only some of the credit he deserved in life.
"There is more of a story to tell [about Maple] and this room will help to tell it," de Blasio said.
After the ceremony, Bratton and Maple's family, including his wife, children and grandchildren, watched as a plaque was unveiled to officially name the facility the Jack Maple CompStat Center.
Maple, known for his signature Homburg hat, bow tie and two-toned Allen Edmunds spectator shoes, convinced Bratton during his first term as police commissioner in 1994 that the NYPD could use timely intelligence to create effective and relentless crime-fighting tactics. Bratton recalled that Maple sketched out some of his ideas on cocktail napkins at the now-defunct Elaine's. Replicas of the napkin were given out at the ceremony and luncheon.
"Jack changed the policing paradigm, he broke the mold, he gave us a whole new way to run the police department, generate the focus and energy to do this job right," Bratton said. "Next year we will celebrate 25 straight years of crime decline in this city. The NYPD is the gift that keeps on giving. It is the gift that Jack first created for this great city."