Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and his wife Rikki Klieman had read about one another for years in Boston before meeting when she surrendered a fugitive to him in 1990. They joined forced while he was making a name for himself as a prominent cop on the rise, and Klieman was doing the same as a criminal defense attorney. Although their story begins in Boston, the two feel that New York is the city where they fell in love.
Since running into one another over breakfast at the Regency Hotel in 1998, the couple has been able to support one another in both their personal and professional lives. The two moved back to New York in 2009 after Bratton served as the Los Angeles Police Commissioner for seven years.
“Coming back to New York was always in the plan for us,” Klieman says. “We came back to live on November 1st 2009, and he went into the private sector. From there we reestablished ourselves here.” As the 2014 mayoral race began, several candidates came to Bratton for advice but Klieman explained that Mayor De Blasio came the most often.
The two are a perfect example of opposites attracting, and managed to balance two incredible careers. She has brought her years of experience working as a criminal defense attorney to her job as an on-air legal analyst for CBS This Morning. She also offers her undeniable magnetism to support Bratton’s career, describing her as his additional eyes and ears.
“Becoming commissioner was a joint decision. It was something that I decided unilaterally,” Bratton explained. “We had many soul searching conversations because we knew there would be a lot involved. A change in lifestyle, a change in financial status, and the intensity of our schedules.”
In addition to her job at CBS, Klieman’s presence in his career could be considered another full time job itself. Often offering her impressive communication skills at fundraisers, and she has recently gotten on board with the Police Athletic League. The two have had to come up with creative ways to find some alone time, balancing their hectic schedules and his 24/7-security detail.
Coining the term “Ricky and Billy time” the two enjoy spending time in Central Park, where he proposed to her in 1999. One of their favorite things to do is walk to the Carousal and sit on the bench Klieman had dedicated to him on their one-year anniversary. The bench acts as their own personal landmark of their marriage, decorated with a plaque that says “To my husband William Bratton, who proposed to me at this Carousal. What a great ride! I love you – Rikki.”
In the four years before being appointed the New York Police Commissioner for the second time in his career, the couple was able to escape public life and really become New Yorkers again. “Those years gave us true Ricky and Billy time,” Klieman explained. “We were able to experience all of New York in a way that would be impossible to do now. I don’t think there is a foot in Central Park that we haven’t walked together, we enjoyed the theatre, and went to museums. We were able to savor all the wonderful things New York has to offer.”
The term power couple is an understatement when it comes to this pair, and the most inspiring part of their partnership extends past their impressive career accomplishments. There is a total sense of equal support between them; whether it be when the Commissioner reads lines to help prep Klieman for her next television appearance, or bringing her charisma to help raise money at the number of fundraising events they attend.
“The linkage between what she is doing in her own career has certainly benefited the department,” Bratton said. “Rikki is always a valuable person to have by my side because she has an ability to put people at ease so quickly. There is nobody quite like her.”
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