More than a few law-enforcement officials are likely to be breathing a sigh of relief that the final count in the Democratic primary for Queens District Attorney gave Borough President Melinda Katz a 55-vote margin over Tiffany Caban, a young defense lawyer who ran on a platform of sharply altering the office’s mission.

One indication of how unrealistic her notions about changing the criminal-justice system were came when she stated, first in a televised debate and later in an extended interview with NY1’s Errol Louis, that she wanted Rikers Island closed but opposed reviving the Queens House of Detention as a place to put inmates. Pressed by Mr. Louis as to whether she really believed that other boroughs would welcome Queens inmates in their own expanded jails, she insisted that was not a concern.

Ms. Katz also ran on a platform of significantly altering policies that had calcified under the late Richard Brown during his 28 years in the job. But for those who don’t believe the phrase “career politician” is necessarily a slur, her long experience in government provides an understanding of the limits to how far the pendulum can swing without causing problems. She is likely to rely on the advice of experienced officials, whether prosecutors already working for the office or persons with the extensive law-enforcement background she lacks, in order to strike the right balance once she gains virtually certain election in November.

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