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Bratton Hires Ex-NYPD Official to Revamp Use-of-Force Training

By Murray Weiss | September 15, 2014 8:39am
 Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hired Michael Julian to consult on NYPD retraining.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton hired Michael Julian to consult on NYPD retraining.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

NEW YORK CITY — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has hired a former top NYPD official as a special consultant helping to revamp the way police use force and interact with the public, DNAinfo New York has learned.

The return of Michael Julian, a lawyer and former NYPD Chief of Personnel, to examine the NYPD’s tactics in the wake of the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner will be a key factor in how Bratton reshapes the way police officers make arrests and deal with the public in general, insiders say.

Julian worked with Bratton during his first stint as commissioner in the mid-1990s and had a reputation for “thinking out of the box” and working with the community while developing new strategies.

“Mike brings institutional knowledge and a proven record of revamping training, using people inside and outside the department,” said Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Davis, the NYPD's top spokesman.

Davis said Julian's portfolio will go well beyond the chokehold issue of the Garner case to include the broader use of force by the NYPD and finding ways to handle situations without resorting to physical force.

Julian, who started last week, could not be reached for comment.

Richard Emery, the new head of the Civilian Complaint Review Board who is spearheading a study of NYPD chokehold complaints, praised Julian's selection.

“I think he is a transformative force who has the potential to actually make inroads on changing police attitudes,” he said.  “I think he is a powerful intellect and amazingly charismatic.”

Emery said his relationship with Julian dates back to the 1990s, when they were both on a panel to find ways to “de-escalate force situations."

Emery, then a leading civil rights lawyer, recalled Julian discussing arming police officers with Mace. Emery said he could not sign off on the idea because he did not fully understand it. 

“So we went onto a Police Headquarters landing and they sprayed me,” Emery said. “We were doing all kinds of interesting, creative looks at reform for change.”

In 1989, Julian, then a deputy inspector, was instrumental in ending days of unrest at Tompkins Square Park, where homeless squatters and activists had erected a tent city. He also worked in the department’s legal bureau and NYPD advocate’s office, which oversees police misconduct cases.

He went on to serve as head of security at Madison Square Garden and Rockefeller Center before moving to Australia, where his wife is from, to manage security for a leading mall operator.

“A lot of what Mike Julian has done involved security, safety, crowd control and, in Australia, a significant amount of the crime problems are centered in malls, where he developed robust programs along with the police that reduced crime dramatically there,” Davis explained.

Julian's $150,000 contract will be paid by the New York Police Foundation, which is underwriting several other Bratton advisers assisting in re-engineering the NYPD.