NYPD to adopt guidelines for disciplining officer misconduct, accept public comments

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NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea
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NEW YORK CITY — The New York Police Department unveiled on Monday a discipline matrix that will guide decisions on officer punishment similar to how sentencing guidelines are used in criminal cases.

Beginning Monday, New Yorkers can access the NYPD’s discipline guidelines online and submit comments. The public review period will last 30 days.

The NYPD is shifting to formal disciplinary guidelines at a time when law enforcement agencies around the world are being pressed to be more transparent about officer discipline in the wake of protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd and other instances of police brutality and racial injustice.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea made the announcement during a news briefing Monday morning.

De Blasio said the matrix is part of his administration’s plan to fulfill The Obama Foundation pledge to address the use of force in policing, which he committed to in June.

“Reform goes beyond just changing policies. It means improving transparency, increasing accountability, and ensuring community engagement is centered in our approach,” de Blasio said.

Shea said the NYPD has been working on the discipline matrix for about a year and he expects the guidelines to be finalized by January.

“I encourage everyone to go to the NYPD’s outward-facing website and you can read all about the matrix,” Shea said. “There is a 30-day period where we’re asking for the public’s comments on this. And that’s something that seems intuitive but it hasn’t always been done. But it’s something we truly believe in in terms of knowing who you work for and we work for the public.”

By law, the police commissioner will still have the final say on any officer discipline.

Monday, the Civilian Complain Review Board said it’s a step in the right direction.

“New Yorkers deserve accountability in policing. By raising standards for discipline in law enforcement and establishing a transparent procedure that will make the NYPD more responsive to independent civilian oversight, the proposed disciplinary matrix serves as a significant first step to achieving greater accountability,” said Fred Davie, who chairs the CCRB.

“It is my hope that the Department’s disciplinary matrix will help increase uniformity between the discipline the CCRB recommends and the discipline the Police Commissioner imposes. I am encouraged by some of the clear standards laid out in this new set of rules and look forward to reviewing it further with my fellow Board members and CCRB staff, and look forward to discussing this proposed matrix at a public board meeting.”

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