One Police Plaza

Analyzing Rudy’s Bratton behavior

October 2, 2000

Don't expect to hear anything about Bill Bratton and his mayoral bid until November. Big Bad Rudy Giuliani appears to have spooked him into laying low.

Bratton knew the mayor hated him, but he seemed unprepared for the depth of Giuliani's hatred. What does one make of his dark threat that he knows secrets about Bratton? Of course, as Your Humble Servant can testify, the former police commissioner knows secrets about Giuliani.

Not for nothing does the Police Department have an Intelligence Division.

A more fertile line of inquiry, however, is why Giuliani so hates Bratton. Remember, this is not Mark Green.

What appears most irksome to the mayor is that Bratton is so much like him. The mayor has questioned Bratton's Republican credentials, for example, saying Bratton supports Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Rick Lazio for Senator. The mayor, of course, supported Democrat Mario Cuomo over Republican George Pataki for governor.

More important, Bratton has claimed credit as the top crime-fighter in city history, a legacy the mayor himself seeks. Bratton may or may not have been the city's top-crime fighter, but he was the city's greatest self-promoter - after Giuliani.

Was it coincidence that the mayor began attacking him in January, 1995, just after The New Yorker magazine heralded Bratton's crime-fighting with but one mention of the mayor? Was it coincidence that the mayor forced Bratton's retirement just after Time magazine put his mug on its cover? Bratton's people say he knew he'd be fired for it but he just couldn't help himself.

Although Giuliani approved Bratton's role in the story, neither realized then that Bratton would make the cover. When Bratton discovered it, he did not inform the mayor. Significantly, Giuliani has never explained the reasons for Bratton's departure. The reason for that is there was no reason-no policy reason, that is.

The mayor's reaction to Bratton is so over the top that Bratton's crew views Giuliani as a chip off the old block of his hotheaded Pops, who according to Wayne Barrett's biography, cracked people's heads and did a stretch in Sing Sing for armed robbery.

The mayor is far more restrained, of course. Once he has no use for a person, he either ignores them, as he did his friend former Chief of Department Louis Anemone by not showing up for his retirement dinner; bullies them, as he did former schools chancellor Ramon Cortines, or, in the case of Bratton, seeks to destroy them politically.

And so far, the mayor appears to have succeeded. Bratton has postponed declaring his candidacy, and there are those who think he never will declare.

But was the mayor's titanic reaction to Bratton even necessary? No less than former Mayor Edward I. Koch, sympathetic to Bratton in the past, called Bratton's mayoral posturing "silly" and "ridiculous."

"We elect Republicans once every 30 years," Koch said last week. "While I think he played a heroic role in changing the police, that story is seven years old."

The Stuff of Legends. Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik informed John Scanlon he was out as Chief of Patrol at a 9 a.m. meeting on a Wednesday last month. Kerik told Scanlon he wanted to make changes, including Scanlon's transfer to head the department's lesser Transit Bureau.

Scanlon told Kerik he would discuss it with his wife and let him know the next day. But early that evening, Scanlon was telephoned at home and told his transfer had been broadcast on the police teletype, known as The Finest Machine-effective at midnight.

Scanlon waited until 9 p.m-in police parlance, 21:00 hours. Those four digits, 2100, happen to be the number of Scanlon's first radio patrol car when he was a rookie in the 48th Precinct in the Bronx 37 years ago.

At precisely that hour, Scanlon called the Operations Unit and announced his retirement. "I used it as the symbolism of my 37 years in the department," he explained.

It's Party Time. Mark Nov. 28 on your calendars. That's the date of former police spokeswoman Marilyn Mode's farewell party.

Capt. June Martucci, social director of the department's Office of Public Information, says the cost is $75 a head and attendance is voluntary, certainly even for the cops she bullied in her office (Anyone who believes that knows nothing about the NYPD). Even Insp. Mike Collins, whom Mode feted at a media Christmas party on Thursday, then ordered transferred on Friday, will receive an invitation. The way things work at One Police Plaza, he'd best attend.

Meanwhile, rumors circulate that Mode, currently on the Police Department payroll while in hiding at the Office of Emergency Management, is under consideration for spokeswoman for the Board of Education.

©2000 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.