New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, left, and Chief of Department Joseph Esposito. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NYPD's highest-ranking officer and third in command is retiring from the force after more than 40 years.
Chief Joseph Esposito has won praise and respect for his leadership style and ability to defuse heated situations. He's also credited with reducing crime and introducing new policing strategies.
Esposito is retiring Wednesday. He's been chief for more than 12 years, longer than any of his predecessors. He was appointed in 2000.
He's known as a "cop's cop" who rose through the ranks.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday noted that Esposito managed the NYPD's response to some of the city's most difficult events, from the Sept. 11 terrorist attack to Superstorm Sandy and its aftermath.
Esposito said he had no immediate plans. He turns 63 on Thursday, the force's mandatory retirement age.
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