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NYPD's Top Chief Abruptly Resigns in Spat Over Promotion, Sources Say

By  Murray Weiss and Aidan Gardiner | October 31, 2014 11:50am | Updated on October 31, 2014 1:24pm

 Chief Philip Banks III, who was slated to become the No. 2 in the NYPD, resigned Friday, sources said.
Chief Philip Banks III, who was slated to become the No. 2 in the NYPD, resigned Friday, sources said.
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MANHATTAN — The NYPD's highest-ranking officer, Philip Banks III, resigned abruptly Friday morning, just days after being promoted to an even higher position in the police force, sources said.

Banks, 50, who has been the NYPD's chief of department since 2013, was tapped this week to become the first deputy commissioner, the department announced. The change of position was slated to go into effect on Monday.

Banks told those close to him that he'd met with Bratton earlier this week and was told the NYPD brass planned to beef up the scope of the No. 2 job — which had been largely whittled into a figurehead job under former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, sources said.

Among the new responsibilities were having oversight of the chief of department's office, which oversees all the NYPD's operations, sources said.

However, Friday morning, Banks met with Bratton yet again and was told that was not the case, sources said. He abruptly resigned in response, sources said.

"Thanks for your support, the men and women of the #NYPD are truly the Finest, but due to professional reasons I have decided to retire," Banks wrote on Twitter Friday afternoon.

"He did not want to be the guy in the corner," sources explained.

Bratton told reporters Friday afternoon that he was stunned by the revelation.

"The decision this morning came as a surprise to me," Bratton told reporters on the steps of City Hall, calling Banks' resignation a "personal decision"  — a notably different term than the one Banks used to describe it.

"After discussion with his family, he opted that he did not feel it was for him," Bratton added. "I would certainly wish him well."

Banks' resignation was first reported by NY1.

Bratton had heralded Banks' promotion earlier this week as important for law enforcement in the city.

"Chief Banks' commitment to the NYPD and the people of New York City has been demonstrated throughout his impressive career within the department," Bratton said in a statement.

Bratton said Friday that he "could care less" about speculation on the position's diminished responsibilities, saying, "It is the key advisory position to me and one that I need a person whose competence and advice I can trust."

Mayor Bill de Blasio had lobbied for Banks — who made $200,000 a year as chief of department — to accept the new position, sources said. His wife, Chirlane McCray, was close with Banks and had wanted him to be picked for the NYPD Commissoner spot, sources said.

"We were disappointed to hear of Chief Philip Banks’ personal decision to step down," de Blasio said in a statement Friday, "He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner.”

Banks began his career patrolling the 81st Precinct in Bed-Stuy, according to the NYPD.

While he steadily climbed through the ranks of the department, he also earned a degree from Columbia and completed courses at Harvard's Kennedy School and the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Homeland Defense and Security.