NEW YORK - The NYPD has ended its controversial Muslim surveillance program, which began in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. 

The spying unit had placed plainclothes officers in mosques and other Islamic community centers citywide to record conversations and track daily lives.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the decision saying, "Our administration has promised the people of New York a police force that keeps our city safe, but that is also respectful and fair." He added, "This reform is a critical step forward in easing tensions between the police and the communities they serve." 

The NYPD also released a statement saying in part, "Understanding certain local demographics can be a useful factor when assessing information regarding potential threats." 

The disbanding of the program marks Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's first major move away from the NYPD's post 9/11 policies.