NYPD reform plan’s 2nd phase: Decriminalize poverty, more police accountability

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As the NYPD continues to rebuild its relationship with New York City residents, the city unveiled the second phase of police reform with new proposals.

The five new proposals Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday are part of five larger goals set forth, which hope to bring more accountability to the NYPD, make city residency a larger factor in hiring officers and an end to the “poverty-to-prison” pipeline.

“This is about respect and fairness,” Mayor de Blasio said, adding that everyone needs to be held accountable for actions, no matter if they’re a civilian, police officer or elected official.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who has attended multiple town halls and meetings with the public, said his main takeaway from these sessions was that people want to be heard.

“Many people are concerned and want more police, but they want to be policed fairly and they want to be respected,” he said.

He said people understand officers have tough jobs, but accountability needs to be there. 

Shea pledged that the NYPD will continue to work with New Yorkers to make the city safe and fair for everyone. 

The following proposals have been laid out: 

  • Decriminalization of poverty
    • Ending the Poverty-to-Prison Pipeline initiative to prevent and reduce justice system contact and connect low-income and justice-involved clients and families with streamlined services. 
    • New public health approaches will be adopted to reduce overdoses 
    • City agencies will establish service plans to ensure access to health and human services for people affected by the criminal justice system.
  • Transparency and accountability
    • Expand early intervention program to identify and access at-risk officers.
    •  Support a state law that ensures pensions are reduced or forfeited in the most egregious cases of police misconduct (Ex: Death of a New Yorker due to police misconduct)
  • Recognition of historical and modern-day racialized policing in NYC
    • The NYPD will participate in a comprehensive review to identify and assess structures of racism within the force. 
  • Community representation and partnership
    • The NYPD is working to strengthen its relationship with immigrant communities
    • Pilot the Advance Peace Model, a program created by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, establishes an effective mentorship connection between violence interrupters and young New Yorkers at risk of engaging in gun violence and help them achieve goals. 
  • A diverse, resilient and supported NYPD
    • The NYPD should look more like New York City: Although Mayor de Blasio said he understands living in the city is expensive, living in the five boroughs should be a more significant factor in hiring officers.
    • Promotions process should be more transparent and look into an officer’s complaint and disciplinary history.

Mayor de Blasio released a 36-point police reform proposal earlier this month, which were part of the administration’s “ongoing effort to undo the legacy and harm of racialized policing.”

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