On Thursday Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced a new city-wide initiative called “One City: Safe and Fair Everywhere.” Officials claim the plan will help community policing practices that will improve relations between officers and residents, especially in minority communities where mistrust and resentment are high. Over the past year, tension over police practices in these neighborhoods have grown since the deaths of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley.
The plan has already been tested in Washington Heights and the Rockaways. It includes changes like creating Neighborhood Coordinating Officers (NCOs) in each sector of a precinct — officers who have set times everyday to be visible in the community and establish relationships. Officers also have dedicated time for attending community meetings and meetings with residents. In addition, the plan changes the number of sectors in police precincts and help ensure they are each fully staffed.
“The best change, the best reform, happens at the grassroots,” said de Blasio. He said true neighborhood policing would be “transformative” for the city.
Bratton emphasized the technological investments being made in the police department.
“It’s going to give us the most advanced technology of any police department,” he said, noting that the department will be using smartphones, tablets and other new upgrades.
Earlier this week, the mayor announced the hiring of 1,297 new police officers. De Blasio added that most of these officers will be devoted to the new community policing initiative.