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Bratton traveling to Mideast to discuss terrorism, other topics

New York Police Police Commissioner William Bratton speaks

New York Police Police Commissioner William Bratton speaks to the media at Queens College on Jan. 9, 2014. Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton is slated to fly as early as next week to the Middle East, with a key stop in Israel, as part of a broad fact-finding trip on which he plans to talk with officials about a wide range of issues, including terrorism, a department spokesman said Thursday.

Since he took over the NYPD on Jan. 1, Bratton has made no secret of his plan to create strong alliances with police agencies abroad and in the United States as a way of sharing ideas and information, and the Mideast trip can be viewed as part of that goal, spokesman Stephen Davis indicated in an interview.

Bratton has specifically noted that British police are beginning to have issues over stop-and-frisk, while the Los Angeles police, which he led from 2002 to 2009, are further along in experimenting with predictive policing. The latter is the use of mathematical models to help police anticipate where crimes will occur and who may commit them.

Bratton's trip abroad comes at a time when the department is in the midst of an intense "re-engineering review" in which experts and consultants are gathering information from middle-level managers and field commanders to find out how the NYPD should do things, and what changes, if any, should be made in the way police units work, Davis said.

"We want input from the people that do it," Davis said of the review process, which is expected to go on for at least two months.

Under Bratton's predecessor, Ray Kelly, in the years following 9/11 the NYPD assigned several officers abroad as intelligence liaisons to 11 cities, including Tel Aviv and Amman, Jordan. The New York City Police Foundation has provided money for travel, lodging and office expenses incurred by the liaisons.

The liaison program has been criticized by some as being ineffective. But during his time as commissioner, Kelly defended the concept, noting that liaisons helped provide information back to New York in the critical hours after the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, India. Bratton said earlier in the year that he would review the liaison program as part of his overall assessment of the department's programs.

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