New York Mayor-elect interviewing police commissioner candidates

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 20, 2013 4:52 PM
New York Mayor-elect interviewing police commissioner candidates

By Curtis Skinner

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday he has met with three candidates to become the city's next police commissioner, including former commissioner Bill Bratton, but declined to offer a timeline for when he will make his final selection.

De Blasio, who will succeed three-term Mayor Michael Bloomberg at the start of 2014, told reporters he expects police and community relations to get better once he takes office.

"We intend to make an improvement on people's lives quickly," de Blasio said.

He also said passage of a law to expand paid sick leave would be a high priority and hopes to offer pre-kindergarten programs citywide by the start of the next school year.

De Blasio has been a harsh critic of the controversial stop-and-frisk police tactic that Bloomberg has maintained is instrumental in keeping down violent crime. Critics say it often amounts to racial profiling.

In addition to Bratton, who served as police commissioner in the 1990s and has also run the Los Angeles and Boston police departments, de Blasio said he has met with the current Chief of Department Phillip Banks III, and Rafael Pinero, the first deputy police commissioner.

De Blasio said he sought Bratton's advice repeatedly over the last year and that the two "have a great deal of agreement on core issues."

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Another decision de Blasio has yet to make is whether he and his family will leave their home in Brooklyn and move into Gracie Mansion, the official mayoral residence.

De Blasio said he planned to have a "substantial family discussion" with his wife, Chirlane McCray, and their two teenage children over next week's Thanksgiving holiday.

Bloomberg, a billionaire, never moved into Gracie Mansion, preferring to stay in his townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

(Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Gunna Dickson)