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Bratton returns to lead New York City police force

| Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013, 5:51 p.m.
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New York police Commissioner-designate Bill Bratton embraces a policy of devoting resources to curb minor crimes with the expectation of reducing major crimes.

NEW YORK — William Bratton, whose tenure as New York City police commissioner in the 1990s was marked by a decline in crime and clashes with then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has been chosen to lead the nation's largest police force again.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio announced the appointment on Thursday, saying Bratton is a “proven crime fighter” who knows how to keep the city safe.

He is being named to lead the 34,000-officer department as it tries to maintain a historic drop in crime and an extensive counterterrorism program, even as its tactics have become increasingly scrutinized. Bratton, who has led the Boston and Los Angeles police departments, will succeed Raymond Kelly, the New York Police Department's longest-serving commissioner.

“Wherever he's gone, there's been a reduction in crime,” said de Blasio, a Democrat who takes office on Jan 1.

Over and over, de Blasio stressed that Bratton will try to continue the city's record public safety gains while improving police-community relations, which he said he believes have been strained by the police tactic known as stop and frisk.

The tactic allows police to stop anyone believed to be acting suspiciously. Its supporters say it has driven down crime, while its critics say it unfairly targets black and Latino men.

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