De Blasio announced his decision at the Red Hook Community Justice Center in a Brooklyn neighborhood once notorious for crime that has more recently attracted artists and other gentrifiers, the New York Times reported.
"Bill Bratton is a proven crime-fighter," de Blasio said in a statement. "He knows what it takes to keep a city safe, and make communities full partners in the mission."
Bratton, 66, a native of Boston, rose through the ranks in the Boston Police Department. He went on to head the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority Police and the New York Transit Police before Mayor Rudolph Giuliani named him police commissioner.
After resigning in 1996, Bratton headed the Los Angeles police from 2002 to 2009, taking over a department with a battered reputation. More recently, he has served as a consultant to London's Metropolitan Police and to the Oakland, Calif., police department.
De Blasio campaigned against the "stop and frisk" policy championed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. But the Times said the incoming mayor is also under pressure to continue New York's low crime rates.
Bratton and Giuliani got much of the credit for the drop in crime, although critics have pointed out the rate began falling under Mayor David Dinkins. Bratton introduced the "broken windows" theory that neighborhoods become safer when police aggressively go after minor crimes.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. praised de Blasio's decision.
"He already has the respect of the men and women in the N.Y.P.D., and the public will be comforted to know that a tested and a seasoned veteran will again lead the nation's finest police department and ensure both our safety as well as fairness in the justice system," Vance said. "It's a great choice."
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