Friday, May 18, 2012

Despite Bloomberg Saying Nothing Wrong With Stop and Frisk; NYPD Commissioner Kelly Institutes Reforms

It's curious how Mayor Mike Bloomberg can defend stop and frisk as a policy that works on the same day that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly announces reforms of the program to address community concerns.
In a letter sent earlier today to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Kelly said top-ranking officials in each police precinct will now be required to audit reports of street stops by officers. This is in addition to a review undertaken at weekly Compstat meetings by the chief of the department, he wrote.

“I believe these measures will help us more closely monitor the daily street encounter activity of precinct personnel,” he wrote.

He also said that the department has republished an order prohibiting racial profiling and has created a new training course that “provides personnel with an additional level of clarity in determining when and how to conduct a lawful stop.”

Quinn, who released Kelly’s letter, said in a statement that the changes announced were “an important step forward” but said more needs to be done to reduce the number of stops and “bridge the divide between the NYPD and the communities they serve.”

A federal judge yesterday granted class-action status to a lawsuit against the city’s stop-and-frisk practices. The lawsuit alleges that the NYPD has systematically targeted blacks and Latinos and trampled on Constitutional protections against unreasonable searches.
Particularly of interest is the fact that Kelly had to reiterate the prohibition of racial profiling and additional training on how to conduct lawful stops. It would seem to be a nod to the fact that the policies that were previously put in place were insufficient or that the cops carrying out the stop and frisk activities need additional training.

Part of the problem with the program as a whole may be diminishing returns on a program that started out with the best of intentions and did take criminals and their weapons off the streets, but which has become a slave to its own statistics as a metric of how much activity beat cops are doing on a regular basis.

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