For 20 years, two mayors stood foursquare behind the police. Like civilian leaders of the military, they sent their army of knights into battle to serve and defend the innocent and law-abiding public.
Taking back the streets was not always pretty and did not always go smoothly. Yet progress against the scourge of crime was undeniable from the start, and after two decades under Mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg, a decisive victory was won. Hallelujah!
New York, formerly the ungovernable Rotten Apple, was reborn in the ashes of mayhem and murder. Life in virtually every neighborhood got better and better because even quality-of-life crimes were not accepted as inevitable. Investment follows safety, and the city shined like never before.
The mayors led, but rank-and-file cops did the heavy lifting, and the insignia of the NYPD became world famous. It was the symbol of professionalism and success, and some of its honchos were drafted to lead other cities’ police forces, in the hope that, if they could make it safe here, they could make it safe anywhere.
Then came Bill de Blasio.