Only a few days after it was announced that NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III was being promoted to First Deputy Commissioner Monday– the second-highest ranking position in the Department– on Friday, he announced he is resigning.
Banks, 51, a 28-year veteran of the force, was officially installed as the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer in March 2013.
Insiders said the decision was spurred by disagreements he held with NYPD Commissioner William Bratton. Additionally, he had been seeking – and was originally promised – more power for the First Deputy Commissioner post, as in the past, the position has been largely ceremonial.
However, Bratton publicly denied any contentions with Banks and said he thinks the world of Banks and that it was with great regret that he accepted Banks’s resignation.
Many are speculating about the true reason behind Bank’s departure, and several high-ranking officials have expressed disappointment, including Mayor Bill de Blasio who said he was enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner.
On Saturday, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries released the following statement:
“Chief Phillip Banks III is a talented law enforcement professional whose intelligence, strength and integrity helped make New York City a safer place for everyone. The departure of Chief is another blow to the credibility of the New York Police Department.
“Our city is a gorgeous mosaic of all races, and moving forward the police department’s leadership must reflect that tremendous diversity.”
Banks released the following letter as further explanation of his decision to step down. The letter alludes to his concern around the diminishing role the new position would offer him as a hands-on police officer and decision-maker and ends with him saying he is at peace and ready to begin the next chapter of his life and career:
“On Friday, I made the difficult decision to leave the NYPD after 28 years. While I recognize that I was a public servant, I am a private person. However, in light of the attention my decision has received and the ongoing inquires it has generated, I thought it was in everyone’s interest that I make a few points. Since I feel that attention should be on how to make the finest police department in the world even better, I ask everyone to understand that I will not be commenting on this any further.
“First, the Police Department offered me opportunities that I could have never imagined when I joined the force 28 years ago. In turn, I did everything I could to serve my fellow New Yorkers, as did the thousands of officers with whom I had the privilege to serve. I will always be grateful to the department and proud of the work we did.
“I believe it is the right — frankly, the responsibility — of the Commissioner to select whomever he wants to help lead the department and assign responsibilities as he sees fit. In this case, while serving as First Deputy Commissioner would have been an honor, I felt that the position would take me away from where I could make the greatest contribution: the police work and operations that I love so much. While Commissioner Bratton and I both made good-faith efforts to bridge that gap, we were not successful. For that reason, I informed the Commissioner that I could not serve in that role, and he graciously accepted my decision.
“I am at peace with my decision and ready to begin the next chapter. I have every confidence that Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton will continue to build a department which every New Yorker can be proud of. While I will no longer be part of that worthy mission, I believe we should all support them.
“My family and I appreciate everyone’s good wishes, and you are all in our thoughts.”