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NYPD Inspector General Shaping Up To Be Hot Button Issue In Mayoral Race

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A battle over a proposed police watchdog is heating up New York City's race for mayor.

Democrat Christine Quinn is fielding criticism from her rivals and the man she hopes to replace as mayor. Quinn's support was key to helping Mayor Michael Bloomberg change the law and win a third term as mayor.

But now as Quinn runs to replace him, Bloomberg is blasting her for backing an inspector general to watch over the NYPD and review aggressive police strategies such as stop, question and frisk.

Bloomberg has said he believes creating an inspector general would be "disastrous for public safety" and "put the lives of New Yorkers and police officers at risk."

"I think it is an important, additional monitoring device for the Police Department," said Quinn.

Political consultant Gerry O'Brien said it's quite a kick-off for the election season, with Quinn trying to show Democrats she's not joined at the hip to the mayor.

"This is not about fighting crime or reforming the Police Department. It's really about her trying to win the Democratic primary and I think she feels it's beginning to slip away from her," O'Brien told CBS 2's Tony Aiello.

Quinn's challengers include Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who is a long-time supporter of an NYPD watchdog. He lumps the speaker and the mayor together when it comes to police oversight.

"If you've got a City Council that won't stand up to a mayor and a mayor that won't ask the tough questions of a police commissioner, well then, let's face it, there's no oversight," de Blasio said.

Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Ray Kelly and the police unions all said the oversight Democrats support will quickly become meddling with policies that have driven crime to 50-year lows.

It's shaping up to be a big issue in the mayor's race.

A spokesman for Commissioner Kelly said between Internal Affairs, five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys and the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the NYPD has more oversight than any police department in the country.

How do you think the issue will play out in the race? Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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