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N.Y. police commissioner to join high-tech firm

Howard Safir says he will resign from the department and join ChoicePoint, which offers an online database that allows companies and government officials to search public records.

New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir today said he will resign from the department and join ChoicePoint, an Atlanta-based high-tech firm whose online database allows companies and government officials to search public records information.

Safir's last day as police commissioner will be Aug. 18. As commissioner, he made $150,000 annually.

"My involvement with ChoicePoint begins a new and exciting chapter in my career,'' Safir said in a statement. "I look forward to working with ChoicePoint in combining creativity with data and technology to make a positive impact on society on a more global level.''

Safir will join the growing ranks of celebrities and public figures who have moved to participate in high-tech businesses.

John Elway, Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretsky made an entrance into the high-tech world with an online sports store,; Retired San Francisco 49er quarterback Steve Young recently launched FirstLight Venture Partners, a venture capital firm; and Claudia Schiffer expanded her modeling career to sponsor an edition of the Palm Pilot.

New York Mayor Rudloph Guiliani appointed Safir as police commissioner in 1996. Safir has led the department through a series of controversial encounters, including the 1997 assault of a Haitian immigrant, Abner Louima, by white police officers and the death of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo, who was shot 41 times by four white police officers.

At ChoicePoint, Safir will work to enhance the database and tools available to government and law enforcement agencies.

"There are all kinds of new tools because of technology that allows (police officers) to locate felons quicker," said Bari Love, a spokesman for ChoicePoint. Safir "will be helping us develop new products to help the law enforcement community."