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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2021
Contact: Jake Oliver, [email protected], (347) 361-9983

Leading good government group calls for appointing a Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, continuing efforts to transition certain functions from the NYPD to other agencies, establishing broad-based local advisory councils, taking steps to better connect officers with the communities they serve, collecting additional data and make data available to the public, changing incentives that drive evaluation and promotion of personnel, exercising strong authority over the NYPD and adopting recommendations to promote accountability

To view report, click here

New York, N.Y. (December 23, 2021)— Citizens Union, New York’s preeminent good government group, today released Public Safety and Policing in New York City: Recommendations to the New Mayor, a report outlining recommendations for the incoming Mayoral administration designed to promote public safety and make the NYPD more accountable and responsive. The report builds on Citizens Union’s comprehensive Agenda for Police Reform to make the NYPD more transparent and accountable, which the group released in March. You can read that report here.

“The arrival of a new Mayor is an excellent opportunity to recalibrate the City’s approach to public safety and policing. The Mayor must exercise authority over the NYPD, just as he does over other agencies, and have those agencies work harmoniously with one another. Mayor-elect Adams has the knowledge, experience and perspective to reshape public safety and increase the public’s faith in law enforcement. We look forward to working with the new administration to ensure New York City has an effective police force that is accountable and responsive to the needs of our neighborhoods,” said Betsy Gotbaum, Executive Director of Citizens Union.

Recommendations outlined in the report include:

  1. Exercise strong authority over the NYPD, no longer deferring to the Department as “first among equals,” and establish a collaborative approach among City agencies in addressing public safety and protection.

     

  2. Appoint a Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, someone with a broad perspective extending beyond the NYPD, to have authority over, and coordinate among, City agencies engaged in public protection and public safety.

     

  3. Continue the efforts to transition certain appropriate functions from the NYPD to other agencies, accelerating the pace, tracking the progress and reporting to the public on results.

     

  4. Adopt recommendations to promote police accountability set forth in our March 2021 report, Agenda for Police Reform, including merging agencies that conduct police oversight and enhancing the authority of the merged agency to seek sanctions for and initiate investigations of police misconduct.

     

  5. Establish broad-based local advisory councils, with NYPD and other city agency participation, in each precinct or community board, to identify community concerns and problem-solve with government officials to bolster trust among them and enhance communities’ capacity to impact government policy and actions.

     

  6. Better connect police with, and improve public trust in, the communities they serve, by:
    1. providing trainees more community interaction prior to completing training, including through neighborhood internships;
    2. increasing diversity of uniformed officers, and especially in NYPD leadership positions;
    3. reducing the number of potentially confrontational interactions between police and community members, and increasing training in, and use of, conflict resolution as opposed to encouraging aggressive and military style behavior;
    4. maximizing community engagement, for example, through local advisory councils and other community engagement, and through strict adherence to lawful and racially unbiased police practices in law enforcement, for example, as it relates to gun violence and protests.

       

  7. Assure that additional data be collected and made available with regard to community indicators and preferences.

     

  8. Change the incentives that drive evaluation and promotion of police personnel, away from arrests and clearance rates and more toward conflict resolution and community relationship-building; make those incentives public.

The report was developed by Citizens Union’s Subcommittee on Policing, which is part of the organization’s Policy Committee. Citizens Union has been studying police accountability and performance in New York City for a decade, and expanded its working group on the issue in light of recent events across the country that have highlighted the need for police reform.

“Public safety is dependent on New Yorkers having faith in law enforcement. That faith in law enforcement is dependent on the NYPD being accountable and responsive to the needs of our communities. You cannot have one without the other,” said Gotbaum. “Adopting the recommendations in this report will go a long way towards creating an environment where New Yorkers feel truly safe.” 

For follow up, please contact Jake Oliver at Anat Gerstein, Inc. at
 
[email protected] or 347-361-9983

About Citizens Union
For over 120 years, Citizens Union has been a force for transparency, accountability and ethics in New York’s City and State governments. A nonpartisan organization, some of our current initiatives include the election info hub ElectNYC.org, a new agenda for police accountability, and increasing civic engagement. Learn more at www.citizensunion.org.

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