Bill Bratton bargaining from position of strength

The mayor is now silent.

If anyone really knows what’s going on between the NYPD’s Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio over the commissioner’s request for 1,000 more cops, come forward.

The mayor has opposed adding cops, but is now silent on the request — further complicating a policing issue after a controversial first year with the NYPD that saw the assassination of two officers. His silence suggests a conflict between his progressive agenda and his more practical governing self.

Complicating matters is City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, an ally of the mayor who supports adding cops but opposes Bratton’s broken-windows policing because she believes it is discriminatory.

Mark-Viverito said recently she wants “aggressive oversight” and to decriminalize some low-level offenses, including public urination and subway fare jumping. Both Bratton and the mayor disagree.

Then there are assertions by NYPD insiders that Bratton will get 1,000 cops or close to it. This might indicate a deal with the mayor for the additional officers.

The assertions might also reflect Bratton’s confidence that his crime-fighting agenda is seen as necessary by City Hall and supported by New Yorkers, making him a power in his own right. When Bratton returned to the NYPD last year, some wondered how long he’d stay, given the mayor’s anti-police rhetoric and Bratton’s history of quick departures. (His most recent seven-year tenure in Los Angeles was the exception.)

The crisis in December after the assassination of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two officers posthumously promoted to detective, revealed Bratton at his best. He finessed an ill-conceived police work slowdown and a gesture of contempt when officers at the cops’ funerals turned their backs on the mayor.

Now Bratton seems here for the long haul. “He is not going anywhere,” says a person close to him.

It’s unclear what his relationship with the mayor is really like. While Bratton says he enjoys working for de Blasio, the person close to him said, “The mayor doesn’t get it that Bill saved him in December and January.”

Rudy Giuliani fired Bratton 20 years ago, but he has become more skillful. Bratton seems to know when to criticize a mayor. Unlike Giuliani, he knows de Blasio is in no position to fire him.

No matter how many additional cops Bratton gets, he’s already won.

Len Levitt