For the better part of an hour Tuesday morning, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton pressed the flesh one last time in a police department promotion ceremony, congratulating scores of officers and civilian employees getting promoted.
The ceremonies are monthly rituals for the NYPD and Bratton, who leaves his post Sept. 16. Tuesday’s ceremony at police headquarters was a time for Bratton to impart words of inspiration to those remaining after he’s gone.
“Don’t let it end here today,” Bratton told those getting promoted to everything from filing clerks to deputy commissioners. “Use this as just another stepping-stone in moving up in the organization, helping this organization to continue to achieve what it has achieved in the last 25 years: crime down every year, the safest the city has ever been.”
Bratton is retiring after taking over as police commissioner in January 2014. He was commissioner for two years under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bratton was essentially forced out by Giuliani in early 1996 after appearing to overshadow the mayor when the city saw a dramatic crime reduction.
Bratton went on to serve as police chief in Los Angeles and after leaving that job in 2009 served in private industry. Bratton next will take a position with the global advisory firm Teneo Holdings.
The commissioner showed little emotion addressing the throng inside the auditorium at Police Plaza in lower Manhattan Tuesday. He spiced his talk with humor, recalling the first time he was promoted to sergeant in the Boston Police Department in 1975.
“I wanted to be a sergeant so badly,” Bratton said, adding that he hoped to make a difference in a department he saw riddled with people who weren’t good leaders or bosses. To mark the occasion more than 40 years ago, Bratton said his father took plenty of pictures with his new camera but didn’t get things quite right.
“We had wonderful photos except there were no heads in the photos,” recalled Bratton to laughter. “The angle he was standing at, he managed to take everything from the neck down.”