Review board report actually shows NYPD is getting better

Despite what some headlines might suggest, the new Civilian Complaint Review Board report is an acknowledgment that the NYPD continues to get better, year after year.

At a time when the number of police officers in New York City is increasing, and the city’s population is growing, there are fewer substantiated complaints against fewer officers. Importantly, 90 percent of our officers have never had a single complaint against them substantiated by the CCRB during their careers.

see also

Police misconduct allegations are up against NYPD

Allegations of police misconduct against the NYPD increased last year,…

The number of overall complaints of misconduct that are substantiated by the review board continues on a downward trend, with just one half of 1 percent of all officers having received three or more substantiated civilian complaints during their careers.

The CCRB report also shows that complaints of excessive force against members of the Police Department have declined for the fourth year in a row. Plus, for complaints of police misconduct prosecuted by the CCRB, more than 50 percent result in the officer being found not guilty after trial.

When there’s a difference between the discipline recommended by the review board in the most-serious of the complaint cases, and the penalties ultimately levied by me, as police commissioner, the main reason is that the officers were found not guilty at NYPD administrative trials. In just two cases last year, I reversed the decisions of the trial court and found the officers involved not guilty.

The report notes a raw-number increase in complaints to the CCRB last year, but it is unclear what effect the board’s own administrative changes have had on year-to-year comparisons.

In 2017, the board unilaterally broadened what qualifies as misconduct, skewing comparisons to the previous year. This new, expanded view includes instances in which police officers have transported emotionally disturbed people, against their will, to hospitals. The board has characterized this as a police “abuse of authority,” which can account for a portion of the overall increase.

And in previous years, the CCRB had always agreed to reconsider case determinations when requested by the NYPD. In 2017, for the first time, the board rejected more than 80 percent of those requests.

More On:
nypd

MTA exec rips cops for holding train during mace incident

Man rapes, robs woman on her Bronx rooftop

Some New Yorkers can’t tell the difference between a tiger and a raccoon

Police misconduct allegations are up against NYPD

Additionally, any physical contact by an officer toward a civilian is now classified by the CCRB as a “use of force.” We have seen cases fall into that category in which the contact was slight, such as the touching of a civilian’s hand, as well as clearly justified uses of force in effecting arrests.

The report itself attributes the increase in total new complaints, in part, to a greater awareness by the public of the CCRB’s existence, what its role is, and how people can contact it.

Over the past year, the CCRB has engaged in hundreds of outreach events, and has enlisted local political and religious leaders in helping their constituents file complaints for perceived police misconduct. At each of these events, the board has staff available to hear and accept civilian complaints, which the NYPD fully encourages. The CCRB’s required monthly board meetings, too, are now often held in the various boroughs themselves — and not at the board’s offices — and its investigators are on hand to take new complaints there, as well.

While the CCRB received more complaints in 2017, there are also fewer substantiated findings that police officers acted improperly — a reality that should make officers, and all the New Yorkers they serve, proud. Last year, more than 36,000 officers had about 20 million interactions with the public, and responded to more than 5 million calls for service.

By all measurable benchmarks, the CCRB report is proof that the hardworking men and women of the NYPD can keep this great city safe, while also building trust in our neighborhoods and maintaining the highest standards of conduct.

James P. O’Neill is New York police commissioner.

Article original

Related posts

Leave a Comment