Bratton Defends ‘Awful’ Morale Comments

NEW YORK (AP) -

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday defended his comments that morale in the nation’s largest police force is “awful,” which was widely taken as a swipe at his predecessor, Raymond Kelly.

Bratton told reporters he stands by what he said in an interview on WABC over the weekend that under Kelly and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the police tactic known as stop-question-and-frisk was overused and the department had become “beat down.”

But Bratton praised his predecessor for bringing down crime to record levels. He added that focus groups with officers of every rank and meetings with union officials made it clear that morale was a problem.

He said the comments were not “meant as a shot” at Kelly.

The top union official for patrolmen also said Wednesday morale was bad.