IN his successful race to become the Big Apple mayor, Republican Rudolph Giuliani ran as the law-and-order candidate. So, there was more than normal interest in his first move on crime: the appointment of Boston Police Commissioner William Bratton to head up ``New York's finest.''
The current commissioner, Raymond Kelly, has received praise in his year of running the department. But Mr. Giuliani says he wants someone to ``redefine'' the police.
Mr. Bratton will take over a police department still reeling from recent allegations about corruption. Police officers testified in October at a hearing that some police routinely shook down narcotics dealers and used drugs themselves. Investigations were stymied by higher-level police who did not want a scandal to rock the department. Bratton says that cleaning up the corruption is a ``first priority.''
Bratton may also make a major reorganization, merging the city's Housing and Transit police with the Police Department. Currently, all three have separate command-and-support structures. Giuliani says there are now discussions underway to consolidate the forces.
Mayor-elect Giuliani says the law- enforcement emphasis will be on ``guns, drugs, and youth.'' Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor, also promised to try to attack drugs at all different levels, including street dealers.
This will be Bratton's second trip to New York. Starting in 1990, he ran the city's Transit police for 22 months before moving to Boston. He received high marks for reducing crime in the subways through the use of decoys and plain clothes police. He also got the funding for a new and improved communications system and more powerful 9 mm pistols for the subway police. ``He really improved morale,'' reports Patrick Townsend, recording secretary at the transit Police Benevolent Association, the police union.