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A Recovery for All of Us: Mayor de Blasio Outlines Next Phase of Comprehensive Police Reform Effort

March 5, 2021

Draft plan outlines New York City’s ongoing effort to undo the legacy and harm of racialized policing 

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the next phase of the City’s police reform effort. The New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative draft plan, released today, builds on the initial proposals set forth in the 2021 State of the City and seven years of consecutive police reform under the de Blasio Administration. Through 36 reforms, the plan outlines the next phase of the Administration’s ongoing effort to undo the legacy and harm of racialized policing.

“When I took office, I vowed to reform a broken stop and frisk policy—both to protect the dignity and rights of young men of color, and to give our brave police officers the partnership they need to continue their success in driving down crime,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “There were so many who said it couldn’t be done. But we proved them wrong.  Now, we must go further to confront the harmful legacy of racialized policing. These reforms will restore trust and accountability to create a police force that reflects the communities they serve – all while keeping New York City the safest big city in America.”

“As I said in a recent speech to community leaders in Harlem, there is a history in this country that goes back hundreds of years involving the enforcement of unjust laws and racist policies of society. Police have been an inexorable part of that history,” says Police Commissioner Dermot Shea in the report. “We have to acknowledge this truth – and I do. And we must acknowledge the NYPD’s historical role in the mistreatment of communities of color. I am sorry. Our challenge today is to ensure that we will not participate in, or tolerate, any further inequality or injustice. We have engaged in years of steady reform and we must continue.”

With 36 proposals, the City’s draft plan focuses on five goals. The plan will now move through a public comment period where it will undergo further revision based on the feedback of the public and through a process with the council. New Yorkers can submit their public comment here.

1. Transparency and Accountability to the People of New York City

  • Hold police officers accountable for misconduct through internal NYPD disciplinary decisions that are transparent, consistent, and fair
  • Strengthening the CCRB via the David Dinkins Plan
  • Consolidate NYPD oversight by expanding the authority of CCRB to include the powers of the NYPD OIG and the CCPC
  • Supporting a change in State law to give CCRB access to sealed PD records for purposes of investigations, especially biased-policing investigations
  • Public and comprehensive reporting on key police reform metrics

2. Community Representation and Partnership

  • Working with communities to implement NYC Joint Force to End Gun Violence
  • Incorporate direct community participation in the selection of Precinct Commanders
  • Involving the community in training and education by expanding the People’s Police Academy
  • Immersing officers in the neighborhoods they serve
  • Elevate the feedback of the community through CompStat and Enhanced Neighborhood Policing
  • Launching the Neighborhood Policing App and expanding training
  • Improving policing of citywide demonstrations
  • Expanding the Precinct Commander’s Advisory Councils
  • Expanding Pop Up with a Cop
  • Supporting and expanding the Citizen’s Police Academy
  • Enhancing Youth Leadership Councils
  • Expanding the Law Enforcement Explorers Program.
  • Transforming public space to improve community safety

3. Recognition and Continual Examination of Historical and Modern-Day Racialized Policing in New York City

  • Acknowledging the experiences of communities of color in New York City and begin reconciliation. 
  • Eliminating the use of unnecessary force by changing culture through policy, training, accountability, and transparency. 
  • Augmenting racial bias training for NYPD leadership
  • Comprehensive restorative justice training for NYPD leadership and NCOs to repair relationships with communities.
  • Train all officers on Active Bystandership in Law Enforcement (ABLE) by the end of this year.
  • Enhancing positive reinforcement, formally and informally, to change culture
  • Consistently assessing practices and policies through accreditation. 

4. The Decriminalization of Poverty

  • Developing a health-centered response to mental health crises
  • New approaches to safety, outreach and regulation through civilian agencies
  • Interrupt violence through expanded community-based interventions
  • Expanding the successful Brownsville pilot via the community solutions program
  • Consolidating all crime victim services within the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to support survivors
  • Strengthening community partnerships with domestic and gender-based violence providers

5. A Diverse, Resilient, and Supportive NYPD

  • Recruiting officers who reflect the communities they serve, with a commitment to recruit and retain more people of color and women
  • Reform the discretionary promotions process to improve equity and inclusion
  • Expanding mental health support for officers
  • Supporting professional development through the Commander’s Course and leadership development programs
  • Updating the patrol guide so it is more user friendly and less complex for officer and transparent to the public

This draft plan is the product of the experiences and insights of hundreds of residents of neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs, in forums of varying size and structure. New Yorkers who shared their insights include community based organizations (CBOs), advocacy groups, clergy, racial justice advocates, cure violence providers, youth groups and youth voices, ethnic and religious organizations, BIDs and small business owners, non-profits, LGBTQI+ community leaders, the deaf and hard-of-hearing community, people with disabilities, tenants’ associations, shelter-based and affordable-housing communities and providers, people involved in the justice system, crime victims, policy experts, prosecutors, oversight bodies, judges, elected officials, academic leaders, and many others. To ensure all voices were heard in this process and to solidify the partnership around reform, meetings were also hosted with uniform and civilian members of the NYPD. These meetings paralleled the community meetings, focusing on members assigned to work in the very same highly affected neighborhoods as the residents who offered testimony.

Since Mayor de Blasio took office on January 1, 2014, the de Blasio administration has implemented a sweeping set of wholesale reforms to address over-policing and reduce the overall impact of the criminal justice system, while making the city safer and fairer. The hallmark of the current administration has been a reduced enforcement footprint coupled with a sustained decrease in crime. While many criminal justice systems in the United States continued policies that drive mass incarceration, New York City led an effort to reduce law enforcement focused intervention and incarceration. The results of these efforts have been historic. Comparing 2020 to 2013, the year before the de Blasio Administration took office, there were approximately:

  • 182,000 fewer stop and frisk incidents, a 95% reduction
  • 253,000 fewer arrests, a 64% reduction
  • 29,000 fewer marijuana arrests, a 98% reduction
  • 5,900 fewer people in jail on average per day, a 52% reduction

The New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative Draft Plan is the continuation of this work. It envisions an NYPD that stays true to its history of bravery in the service to the public, that maintains its stellar record of driving down crime, while continuing to transform itself into an example of just, transparent, and accountable policing, implemented equitably, without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, or immigration or socioeconomic status.

The full report can be read here.

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