NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Outgoing NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is defending the department’s use of the “stop-and-frisk” police strategy.

In an interview on 1010 WINS, the commissioner said the controversial policing practice is needed for finding illegal weapons and getting them out of local neighborhoods.

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“It’s something that we still employ. It helps us get weapons off the street. It helps keep the city safe, but it has to be used correctly, and obviously it has to be used constitutionally,” O’Neill said.

The vote of confidence for stop-and-frisk comes days after former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg – once an outspoken supporter of the strategy – came out against it.

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On Sunday Bloomberg – who has filed papers allowing him to run for president in 2020 – publicly apologized for his past defense of stop-and-frisk.

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Addressing a black church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg said the practice often led to the disproportionate detaining of blacks and Latinos. He added that he “can’t change history” but now realizes “I was wrong.”

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O’Neill, who served as an NYPD chief during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor, will step down as commissioner next month. Dermot Shea will replace him as the city’s top cop.