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New Commissioner Puts More NYPD Officers In Front of Camera

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TWC News: New Commissioner Puts More NYPD Officers In Front of Camera
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From murder scenes to crime strategy, numerous New York City police officers are stepping up in front of the camera, a move the police commissioner promised he would make when he took charge of the department. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

The many faces of the NYPD have been put on full display over the last six months, as Police Commissioner William Bratton is sharing the spotlight and allowing various commanders and officers to get face time with the media.

"Wow, sometimes I look and go, 'Hey, I didn't know my old friends were still there,'" said Kevin Clark, a retired NYPD Deputy Chief.

Clark also served as police commissioner in Baltimore. He said Bratton's style allows the NYPD's leadership to speak.

"So it's no longer a one-image approach that may have existed previously," Clark said. "Bratton believes in going right to the source, who will have the answers."

Under former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, it was rare to see anyone else discussing NYPD matters.

"The word was, one voice speaks for the department, and that was Ray Kelly," said Len Levitt, who has a column called NYPD Confidential. "He didn't like anybody else talking to the media. He, and he alone, was the voice, the face of the police department."

Levitt has been reporting about the police department for 25 years. He was often critical of Kelly.

"People in the police department were terrified of him," Levitt said.

The former Marine was considered a strict leader. Clark said there was a need for Kelly's style of dealing with the media when he took office in 2002.

"Under Commissioner Kelly, due to 9/11, it was critical for the public to see the primary leader of the department out there, the strength of the department delivering its message," Clark said.

Towards the end of Kelly's tenure, Chief of Department Philip Banks was tapped to hold several news conferences. Now, many others are as well, but can that be risky?

"Well, I guess there's always the problem of some guy going off the reservation and saying something to give away something," Levitt said. "But actually, police are basically closed-mouthed anyway."

An advantage of having multiple people speak, however, is that the diversity of the department is allowed to shine.

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