FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 21, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION REQUIRING THE POLICE DEPARTMENT TO SUBMIT REPORT RELATING TO DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The final bill before me today is Introductory Number 516-A, sponsored by Council Members Vallone, Felder, Fidler, Foster, Gennaro, Gentile, James, Koppell, Liu, Mark-Viverito, Mealy, Monserrate, Nelson, Sanders, Vann, Weprin, Gerson, Martinez, Yassky, Brewer, Katz, Jackson, Sears Garodnick, White and Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum. Introductory Number 516-A requires the Police Department to submit an annual report to the City Council relating to the discharge of firearms.
"This bill requires the Police Department to replicate on an annual basis its 2007 Annual Firearms Discharge Report. The 2007 report represented a revision and expansion of its prior Firearms Discharge Reports, which had always been internal documents produced principally for tactical reviews. Instead, the 2007 report provided detailed analysis of firearms discharge incidents and is one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind issued by a large City police department. The report will be supplemented by specific data regarding the circumstances of the incidents, disaggregated by the category of the incident: intentional discharges due to adversarial conflict; intentional discharges due to an animal attack; unintentional, or accidental, discharges; and unlawful or unauthorized use of a firearm.
"It is the responsibility and mission of the Police Department to review and evaluate every instance in which a police officer discharges his or her weapon, not only for the purpose of developing the tactics and procedures which will enable the Department to utilize firearms as a last resort, but also as a means of developing training, adopting new technologies, and deploying its resources. The New York City Police Department has the lowest ratio of fatal, police-involved shootings of any major police department in the nation, 0.36 per 1,000 officers, or 13 fatal shootings in 2008, as compared to a ratio of 1.82 per 1,000 officers in 1973, when there were 54 fatal police-involved shootings. The restraint demonstrated by our officers is in no small part due to the lessons learned from the Department's analysis of decades of firearms discharges.
"The bill represents a collaborative effort between the City Council, the Police Department, and my office, built upon the extensive data and analysis provided in the 2007 Annual Firearms Discharge Report. The Administration remains committed to working with the City Council to ensure that the people of this City, and those who protect them, are kept safe.
"I would like to thank Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and his staff for working on this bill as well as the Law Department's Division of Legal Counsel, led by Steve Louis. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation."
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958