Although Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that 1,300 will be added to the NYPD, it will be many months before those officers hit the streets. But as NY1 Criminal Justice Reporter Dean Meminger reports, some change is coming to the NYPD soon.
The NYPD's current class of 800 recruits will graduate from the police academy in three weeks. They'll, of course, focus on fighting crime, but also building community relations, something Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is eager to see.
"Any time you hear community and police, that is a mathematical equation that I can embrace," Adams said.
Adams is a retired NYPD captain. He said community policing is proactive policing.
This week, the mayor and City Council announced that 1,300 additional police officers will be hired, which will bring the NYPD's headcount to about 36,000 police, and that a new focus of officers will be community policing, not just running after 911 calls.
"We ask our cops to get closer to the community, but do we really give the time or the opportunity to do that?" said NYPD Chief of Department James O'Neill.
So now, any new officers, as well as those already on patrol, will be told to designate one-third of their shift to community issues, such as attending neighborhood meetings and addressing specific quality-of-life concerns. Several specialized police teams, such as the street narcotics enforcement and conditions units, are being dismantled and put back on patrol. They'll focus on specific areas in their precincts.
"Having the same officers in the same sector, patrolling the same streets each and every day," said NYPD Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez. "In doing so, they will become experts in that sector. Surely, they will meet people and establish relationships that will lead to trust."
Retired Chief and Deputy Commissioner Wilbur Chapman says having more officers on patrol is key to decreasing tensions between many communities of color and the NYPD.
"The relationships are built on the people on patrol and the communities," Chapman said. "It's not going to built by any program or any pontification."
But will it really work? Chapman says that depends on how individual officers operate within the communities they are supposed to protect.