Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today backed legislation pending in the City Council that would establish an Inspector General at the NYPD. Citing a recent court ruling that blocked the use of Stop and Frisk tactics in private residential buildings in the Bronx, de Blasio urged Council Speaker Quinn to bring the bill to a vote to ensure reform of Stop and Frisk practices. The legislation, which currently has 33 co-sponsors, would match oversight in place at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other major police departments including the LAPD. De Blasio urged action on the bill, warning, “We should not wait for more court rulings to set the boundaries of the City’s policing tactics—we should set those priorities ourselves as a city through our laws and through effective oversight. We cannot defer that responsibility any longer.”
Read the full letter:
January 11, 2013
Hon. Speaker Christine C. Quinn
New York, NY 10007
Dear Speaker Quinn,
I write urging you to move forward on legislation empowering a new Inspector General to oversee the New York Police Department. In light of this week’s court ruling that halted the NYPD’s use of Stop and Frisk as part of the “Clean Halls” program, it is imperative we bring necessary oversight to ensure these policing tactics are not being misused to the detriment of public safety. Effective policing depends on trust and cooperation between police and the communities they serve, enabling a steady flow of leads and information, as does the safety of the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. The unwarranted stops taking place on our streets severely undercut that relationship. We need real accountability on stop and frisk—and that requires innovative new policing strategies, monitoring stop and frisk through CompStat, and passing new City Council legislation empowering an Inspector General at the NYPD. That legislation remains pending in the Council—it is time to pass it without delay.
Stop and frisk is a valuable tool in the policing line-up, but its misuse and overuse in recent years has torn at the fabric of policy-community relations. The dramatic rise in stops over the last decade – many of which resulted in no arrest or summons — is counterproductive to public safety. To bring new oversight, I have called for the Mayor to issue an Executive Order compelling CompStat to regularly review the quality of stop and frisks, and task precinct commanders with reducing unwarranted stops. I have also joined supporters calling for expanded use of anti-gang tactics to reduce gun violence. But there remains a need for new oversight, which would require the City Council to act.
The legislation pending in City Council to appoint an Inspector General at the NYPD would provide true oversight and help assess the effectiveness of our current policies. Current bodies such as the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Internal Affairs Bureau will continue to retain importance in reviewing individual cases of abuse, but an Inspector General would add much-needed oversight of departmental policies that have driven the unprecedented rise in stop and frisks. This is a model used by federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and by major municipal police departments in cities like Los Angeles. We can no longer allow New York City to be an exception to the rule.
This legislation was introduced in June and has a clear majority of the City Council’s support. We should not wait for more court rulings to set the boundaries of the City’s policing tactics—we should set those priorities ourselves as a city through our laws and through effective oversight. We cannot defer that responsibility any longer.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York