Mayor de Blasio pledged to divert funding for the NYPD to youth programs and social services.
Civic activists and Black religious leaders have called for $1 billion in annual funding to be reallocated, but it’s unclear precisely how much the mayor decide to work with.
The mayor had this to say:
“I listened to young people after young person talk about what it was like to feel that their lives were surrounded by disrespect, devaluation, that they were surrounded trauma and pain while trying to find their way to their future. We in this city will commit ourselves to those initiatives like the Cure Violence and the crisis management system that engage our young people and help them away from negative influences, help them become peacemakers themselves.”
In line with these budgetary plans, Mayor de Blasio has already disbanded the 600 personnel serving in the plainclothes anti-crime units of the NYPD, with a planned focus on future community policing, instead.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea had this to say on the matter:
“Thankfully, here in New York City, angry demonstrations have turned peaceful. Thoughtful discussions about reform have emerged. We welcome reform, but we also believe that meaningful reform starts from within.”
Shea explained that the future of policing lies in technology and human intelligence officers:
“This is 21st century policing. Intelligence, data, ShotSpotter, video. I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains, we can do it with guile, we can move away from brute force.”
The shift in policing tactics in the Big Apple makes sense, as new technologies render the old methods of policing obsolete and clunky.
We’re living in the future. There are countless video and camera systems, city-wide, as well as other types of data collection equipment already in use.
The NYPD are better prepared to fight crime, with more sophisticated intelligence resources, derived from digital data collection.
While this shift toward a more friendly NYPD, and a potentially leaner roll of officers has pleased many civil rights advocates, Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch does not like the direction the Mayor is taking:
“Anti-Crime’s mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence. Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.”
Joe Esposito, former NYPD Chief of Department, also took issue with the new direction NYC is taking, with retard to policing:
“Anti-crime (cops) are the crime fighters. These are the folks who get the guns off the street, who get the robbers while the robberies are happening…There is a price to pay here — we’re eliminating all the tools that got us to be the safest city in the county.”
Commissioner Shea agrees that the NYPD must enter the 21st century and rely more heavily on technology, but also expressed that cutting the budget is a bad plan:
“I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of stop-question-and-frisk.”
Shea stated that these changes were a long time coming due to the influx of various new technologies, and were not the result of recent protests or lootings. It is true that many of these reforms have been in the works for over a year. The NYPD cannot use 1970s tactics in a 2020 world.
A joint statement by Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and other committee chairs insist on the one billion dollar reduction in funding for NYPD:
We have identified savings that would cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform head count through attrition, cutting overtime, shift responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses.”
Will this mean that NYPD will be understaffed? Will the reduction in overtime potential keep many young recruits out of the police force, instead choosing more lucrative careers elsewhere? Will policing become thankless work, underappreciated by the community, with underpaid officers taking on even more responsibilities in order to deal with shrinking personnel rosters?
These are all valid questions, and depending upon how changes are implemented, this could all be a boon to NYC, or could hamper our recent spate of record-low violence and crime. Let’s all hope for the best.