NYPD sergeant weighs in on Inspector General, stop & frisk

 

A man is stopped and frisked by NYPD in Brooklyn.  (Credit: Jeremy Sparig.)
A man is stopped and frisked by NYPD in Brooklyn. (Credit: Jeremy Sparig.)

According to one NYPD sergeant, an NYPD inspector general is simply unnecessary. 

Ed Mullins, a sergeant with the 67th precinct in Brooklyn, accused politicians who are pushing for an Inspector General of “political pandering.”

“The NYPD is overloaded with people watching what we do,” he said. “The standards that we’re held to are already in place.”

The argument echoes Christine Quinn’s recent explanation of her choice not to institute an official ban on racial profiling: we already expect law enforcement, and public officials generally, not to engage in racial profiling.

“We do an enormous job on our own as far as discipline goes,” Mullins said. “The penalties in the police department are harsh, people get terminated.”

Mullins thinks the Inspector General proposal is simply a pivot off of the stop and frisk controversy, and he “sympathizes with people on the issue.”

But he insists an Inspector General isn’t the answer—and that the issue of stop and frisk is “not really a racial issue.”

“I don’t believe the police department is targeting male blacks [because of race],” Mullins asserted. “We don’t determine who the perps are, they’re described by the victims of crimes, then we go into specific neighborhoods where the crimes are committed.”

The pressures of CompStat

CompStat was originally a managerial tool brought in by Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, Mullins explain, meant to create accountability for the precinct commanders to do something about the crimes in their commands.

And it has enabled the police to do their jobs with maximum efficiency, Mullins said. By pinpointing specific areas where crimes are taking place, CompStat can help make the city safer block-by-block.

He gave the example of 42nd Street between 7th and 8th avenues where, in the early 1990s, there would be about 100 robberies a month on that one street alone.

“I’m in favor of CompStat, I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Mullins said.

But, he added,  ”what it wasn’t designed for was to keep creating demands for more and more and more.”

Mullins explained it’s especially difficult for a brand new commander in a precinct. If crime plummeted the year before, there’s pressure felt to prove oneself with an even greater decrease.

But Mullins pointed out there’s always going to be crime: “The question is, how much crime? Can we try to keep it to where it is?”

Mullins said that while he doesn’t believe there is a quota specifically for stop-and-frisks, “there’s no doubt there’s a quota” system generally.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne rejected Mullins’ take on the situation, noting that there has been a 25 percent decrease in the number of stops citywide.

A call for more community engagement

Mullins also suggested that the NYPD may not be doing the most effective job of communicating with the communities they’re operating within.

Mullins suggested that police engagement with the community should start “at the grammar school level.”

“We need to educate children and families so that in the future… they don’t see police as the bad guys,” Mullins said.

“At the end of the day, we all want to go home safe,” Mullins said. “So shouldn’t we be on the same team?”

Browne also dismissed Mullins’ allegation that more community engagement is needed.

The NYPD has an “extensive and mandatory community immersion program that has been part of police training since Commissioner Kelly instituted it after the [Sean] Bell shooting,” Browne said.

Police reportedly participate is the very kind of activities Mullins suggested.

Browne said they also engage in role-playing, including role reversal exercises, with teens and young adults in a separate police-community program, and yet another program engages teens and young adults in actual police training themselves.

Follow Danielle Tcholakian on Twitter @danielleiat


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