Is the NYPD Making Itself Superfluous?

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criminal justice

The New York Times reports that NYPD officers have more or less stopped policing, but there hasn’t been an uptick in crime. Maybe there will be now that the not-policing is in the papers; we’ll see.

In the week since two Brooklyn officers were killed by a man who singled them out for their police uniforms, the number of summonses for minor criminal offenses, as well as those for parking and traffic violations, has decreased by more than 90 percent versus the same week a year earlier, and felony arrests were nearly 40 percent lower, according to Police Department statistics.

The two precincts directly affected by the deaths – the 79th, where Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu were killed on Dec. 20, and the 84th, where they were usually assigned – saw a single criminal summons in the week. Officers wrote no parking or traffic tickets. By contrast, the combined tally of criminal summonses alone during the same week last year reached 130. …

… Yet reports of major crimes citywide continued their downward trajectory, falling to 1,813 from 2,127 for the week, a nearly 15 percent drop, according to Police Department statistics.

Which begs the question, is NYC being over-policed? Consider the killing of Eric Garner. Here was a guy selling untaxed cigarettes who was surrounded by, what, five law enforcement agents (?) and manhandled violently enough to result in his death. Couldn’t they have just taken his name and address and issued him a summons?

Maybe a large part of the NYPD should stay off the job a bit longer. We may learn we can do without a lot of them. As Zandar said,

So your brilliant, devious plan is this: you’re going to show the people who believe that the NYPD is full of power-hungry bullies and paramilitary goons what for by displaying to the country exactly how most of the collars you make are in fact wholly unnecessary exercises of petty microagression towards the citizenry you hold in open and rancorous contempt.

Okay then.  Go with that plan, guys.

See also “Crime Has Changed. The NYPD Should Change, Too.” The high crime wave of the 1980s and 1990s is long over. Maybe rigorous policing helped bring it down, and maybe it was getting the lead out. And maybe it was a combination of factors. But it’s time to stop treating NYC like some kind of war zone. It just plain isn’t.

New York Times editorial board:

The list of [police] grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators. The falling murder rate, the increased resources for the department, the end of quota-based policing, which the police union despised, the mayor’s commitment to “broken-windows” policing — none of that matters, because many cops have latched on to the narrative that they are hated, with the mayor orchestrating the hate.

It’s a false narrative. Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court. He hired a proven reformer, Mr. Bratton, who had achieved with the Los Angeles Police Department what needs doing in New York. The furor that has gripped the city since the Garner killing has been a complicated mess. But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:

1. Don’t violate the Constitution.

2. Don’t kill unarmed people.

To that we can add:

3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around.

Do read the whole thing. The New York Times editorial board has been outdoing itself on this issue. See also: Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on de Blasio.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Dec 31, 2014 @5:11 pm

    Was this anyone’s bright idea for a negotiating ploy by the police union with the city of NY?
    WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPSIE!

    One thing I’m sure you don’t want to do when you’re in a tough negotiation for more jobs and higher pay, is make yourself appear to be superfluous over a one week span.

    Look, all kidding aside, NYC needs a functioning police department.
    But one that realizes that it works for the citizens, and the civilian authority.

    Like we don’t need a military full of soldiers (or groups of ex-military) who are “Oath-keepers” – who don’t feel an obligation to civilian authority because they don’t respect the person who’s President right now – we don’t need the NYC police to be ‘Badge-0r-Pledge Keepers,’ because the Mayor gave some sound advice that every responsible parent of a mixed-race child should give.
    And would be negligent if they didn’t give.

    NYPD: Get over your petulant special snow-flake selves, and do your jobs!

  2. Doug  •  Dec 31, 2014 @8:53 pm

    I suggested a few days ago that the NYPD would go on strike – they’ve obviously settled on a slowdown because a strike for independence form civil authority might offend the sensibilities of even conservative New Yorkers.

    If the Mayor’s Office is stupid, they will protest the decrease in the rate of citations. That will be evidence of a ‘quota’ demand from the Mayor. Individual cops who fail to do their job in specific situations should be disciplined for that. If supervisors fail to bring street cops into compliance, the supervisors should be put on unpaid leave. Top officials who don’t kick ass, should be demoted. Please, Mister Mayor, don’t be dumb enough to criticize the slowdown based on the obvious statistics – it will be twisted into a demand for quotas.

  3. waspuppet  •  Dec 31, 2014 @11:01 pm

    … NYPD officers have more or less stopped policing, but there hasn’t been an uptick in crime. Maybe there will be now that the not-policing is in the papers; we’ll see.

    If it does, of course, we will hear that it’s deBlasio’s fault, when in fact it will be the fault of people who have the power to stop crimes and consciously chose not to exercise it.

    Someone might die. And it will be the NYPD’s fault.

  4. paradoctor  •  Jan 1, 2015 @6:17 am

    The difference between a law enforcement officer and a peace officer is that a law enforcement officer makes an arrest whenever possible, and a peace officer makes an arrest only if necessary.

    Is the NYPD flouncing its way to the peace-officer model?

  5. Stephen Stralka  •  Jan 1, 2015 @2:13 pm

    Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court.

    Now there is a statement that’s worth repeating. Maybe paint it on all the NYPD police cars. Or make them wear it on their uniforms.

  6. willf  •  Jan 2, 2015 @2:49 pm

    Here was a guy selling untaxed cigarettes who was surrounded by, what, five law enforcement agents (?) and manhandled violently enough to result in his death.

    No, he was not “selling loose cigarettes”. This is a falsehood bruited about by those who seek to make Garner’s death seem less horrible. Mr. Garner had no loose cigarettes on his person or in his car at the time of his death. The NYPD was called to the area to break up a disturbance, a fight which Mr. Garner himself had broken up, just before this innocent man was choked to death at the hands of the police.

    Again, the idea that Garner was selling loose cigarettes at the time of his death is a lie, and it is imperative that it be slapped down whenever it is raised.



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