Police Commissioner Bill Bratton named Benjamin Tucker, the NYPD's deputy commissioner of training, to first deputy commissioner Wednesday, a week after the veteran officer who had been tapped for the role resigned suddenly for "professional" reasons.
"He has an intimate understanding of crime, drug abuse, youth and the law," Bratton said as he formally appointed Tucker to the post. "These areas make up the essential challenges facing the New York City Police Department at this time in our history, and he is going to be in an ideal position -- in the No. 2 position in our city police department -- to help us face successfully these challenges that confront us now as well as new ones that may emerge in our near future."
Tucker joined the NYPD as a police trainee in 1969 and advanced through the uniformed ranks, becoming a uniformed officer in 1972 and serving in the 24th, 77th and 69th precincts. He retired from the force in 1991 after nearly 22 years of service to pursue jobs in the public service, legal and education fields.
In July 2009, President Obama nominated Tucker to a deputy director position within the federal Office of National Drug Control Policy; the U.S. Senate confirmed him the following June.
Tucker returned to the NYPD as deputy commissioner of training in January 2014.
After a swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, Tucker called the appointment "a dream come true."
"I love this department ... kinda grew up in this department, and this department gave me opportunities that I probably would never have had as a kid from Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn," he said. "It's been an extraordinary journey."
As first deputy commissioner, he will be second in command to Bratton. Philip Banks, the NYPD's Chief of Department and the force's highest-ranking black official up until last week, had been designated for the role but quit the force days before his promotion was to take effect, allegedly because, in part, it would have limited his involvement with day-to-day department operations.
Though first deputy commissioner is a higher rank than chief of department, it's a civilian post that was seen under the previous commissioner as largely ceremonial and stripped of power.
Bratton said at the time he was disappointed by Banks' decision to resign. He also said the job had been highly important during his previous stint as commissioner in the 1990s and remains so.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said, "We salute the appointment."