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Transcript: Mayor Adams, NYPD Commissioner Caban To Pilot New Technology, Announce Additional Clinicians To Be Deployed In Subways

March 28, 2024

Deputy Mayor Philip Banks, III, Public Safety: ... for joining us here today for this very important announcement about subway safety. Mayor Adams always says, public safety and justice are the prerequisite to prosperity. He said it yesterday, he said it today, he's going to say it tomorrow.

This is our north star, his administration, he's going to keep people safe. We're going to make sure that they feel safe, so people are going to be safe. We're going to make sure that they feel safe in the city that they call home and we are going to be doing this while protecting New Yorkers' rights.

So, before I introduce the mayor, I'd just like to acknowledge some of the partners that we have up here today who are committed to subway safety and safety in New York City. Of course, we have the police commissioner of the City of New York, Edward Caban, we have my partner, Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, we have a Chief Advisor to the Mayor Ingrid Lewis-Martin, we have the MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber, we have the NYPD's Chief of Transit Bureau Michael Kemper, the NYPD's Chief of Patrol John Chell, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry, Health + Hospital commissioner, our doctor, Dr. Ashwin Vasan, our Department of Social Services Commissioner Molly Park.

And also we're joined by Brian Stettin, our senior advisor for Severe Mental Illness. And also, the mayor would like to extend his thanks and our administration's thanks to Governor Kathy Hochul for her leadership and partnership in these efforts. So, with that, now I'd like to turn it over to mayor of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, DM Banks, and I'm glad you introduced all the people who are here, because the hallmark of this administration is that we believe in collaboration and we believe that we must come together to solve these extremely complex problems.

Far too long, we have relied on one agency or one part of government to deal with issues that cross over various areas of government, and we could not have asked for and receive a greater partner than my brother Lieber for what you have been doing and how you have been holding it down over and over.

We stood side by side so many times. We have been on the trains together. We have analyzed how do we deal with the public safety issues that we are facing in the city, particularly in our transit system. And we are clear, and I'm going to continue to state, as DM Banks indicated, public safety is the actual safety and it is how people are feeling.

We know we have over 4 million riders a day in a reliable system and we know that we have approximately six felonies a day out of those 4 million riders. But if they don't feel safe, then we're not accomplishing our tasks. Stats don't matter if people don't believe they are in a safe environment, and that is what we are going to accomplish.

I said it the other day and I'm going to say it again. Three problems that we must correct in this city. One is recidivism. You cannot continue to have 38 people assaulting transit employees and committing over 1,100 crimes in the city.

Two, severe mental health illness. It's a real problem. We see it on our system. People need the help that they deserve and we are focused on doing that with the entire team that we have in place.

And three, the random acts of violence. It plays on the psyche of New Yorkers when someone is pushed to the tracks or someone shoots a gun in the subway system. Those three aspects are sending the message that our city is out of control. Our city is not out of control. We have the best police department on the globe and they are delivering safety every day, and I cannot thank them enough for what they do in our city.

Public transit system, and especially our subway system, it's the lifeblood of our city. We hear it all the time from all of our corporate leaders and those four million New Yorkers use it to get to work, school and everyday movement in our city. And it makes New York City possible. In fact, we are who we are because of our public transportation system. And keeping New York is safe and maintaining confidence in the system is key to ensuring that New York remains and continues to be the safest big city in America.

When we came into office two years ago, we were focused: public safety, revitalizing our economy and making the city more livable for New Yorkers. And today we are continuing to deliver on those three important entities.

When we saw an uptick in crime on the system in January, we did not wait, we responded immediately. Commissioner Caban and his team, Chief Kemper immediately reached out to me probably three weeks into January and stated, there's a trend that we are seeing and we must respond immediately to it. And we partnered with the MTA to do so.

We surged more than a thousand additional officers in the subway system for each day. And we saw the help from the MTA. They have installed over 15,000 cameras in our subway system, including 1,000 cameras and subway cars, train cars, and our data-driven deployment of additional offices produced good results underground. We saw arrests in the transit system increase 45 percent for the year.

Our efforts have provided immediate results. In February, we witnessed a 15.4 percent decrease in crime and in March we saw a 16 percent decrease in crime.

I thank my partner in Albany who continues to understand our north star is public safety, and that's Governor Hochul. I could not ask for a better partner in ensuring we're able to move through technology like this and initiatives like this. When I spoke to the governor, told her I believe we found some of the technology we're looking for, she said, Eric, let's move ahead and let's accomplish the task.

We know the strategies that we put in place are not enough. We must get rid of those six felonies per day and that's why we are going to evolve. We're going to evolve in a way to ensure that technology becomes part of the public safety apparatus that will join our police officers to accomplish the task we're looking for.

I'm proud to announce that we are taking the next step forward in our ongoing efforts to make our subways even safer and ensure New Yorkers feel safer in the transit system.

Today, in accordance with the POST Act for the use of technology by the NYPD, we'll be publishing the impact and use policy for electromagnetic weapons detection systems here in New York City. This kicks off the 90-day waiting period before this type of technology can be tested and used in our city to help keep New Yorkers safe. This is a rule that we have to follow. We have to wait 90 days before we can implement this technology.

But during the 90-day period, waiting period, the NYPD will work to identify all vendors with effective technology and expertise that are willing to come to New York City and pilot their technology to help prevent firearms from entering our transit system and other types of weapons.

We put this out the calling in January of 2022 and we're seeing private industry step up and answer the call like those calls have been responded to before. This is a Sputnik moment when President Kennedy said we were going to put a man on the moon and everyone responded. Well, today we said we are going to bring technology that could identify guns and other dangerous weapons and our private industry responded.

And the company that we're partnering with and announcing today is Evolv. Their weapons detection systems, like the one here today, are already in use in the city at private companies, at spaces where the public visit every day, like the Mets and One Vanderbilt. Another day I was coming out of an office building and I saw it being used there. It is at numerous sporting events, like today's opening day in Shea Stadium and other sporting events.

While we'll be demonstrating Evolv system in just a few minutes, we will show you how it operates and, trust me, it is clearly impressive when you are able to see how this technology is able to zero in where a gun potentially could be carried.

But we are putting the call out. This city has a technology mayor. When you do an analysis of how many Google searches are done and how many people responds to technology, you see how much we come up. We have a technology mindset in this city and we're calling all companies out there, bring us your product, let us test it. This is the best testing ground on the globe to see how good your product is.

Now, would I prefer us not having to walk through this to come on our system? You're darn right, I do. But we have to live life the way it is and work to make it what it ought to be. And right now we have a small number of bad people that are doing bad things to good people.

It was a chilling impact to watch a gun carried on our subway system and discharged with those passengers. And until that reality becomes the norm, we are going to use technology to identify those bad people who are carrying bad weapons. And I say, those who are afraid of scanners and rather not walk through it, I'd rather you be safe. So, let's bring on the scanners and we are taking a huge step towards public safety.

We understand New Yorkers value their privacy and we understand that we must be transparent on how this technology is used and we're going to do that, but the goal is to keep New York City safe. We want to be clear, no facial recognition, no biometrics, no items will be used to hold your facial or your identification.

We also cannot talk about public safety, as I switch gears, without addressing our extreme mental health crisis, something that Dr. Vasan, Deputy Mayor Williams-Isom and the entire team of our Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, we've talked about this from the beginning. Other people wanted to push this aside and ignore it, we faced it head on and the results are clear.

Our goal, in the upcoming days, we must ensure that individuals who are experiencing severe mental illness receive the help they need. We can't keep walking by people that we know are dealing with severe mental health issues. And they are, many times, a danger to themselves and a danger to subway riders.

We lost another life this week when the rider was pushed into the path of an oncoming train. Our subway system is not a hospital and it's not an emergency room, and this is not the place where people should be if they're dealing with severe extreme mental health illnesses.

This transportation system must be a place where we commute safely. Those who need specialized assistance for medical professionals must be in places where they can receive it. Safety and justice for all New Yorkers must go hand in hand.

So today, in addition to our technology announcement, I am announcing that we are ready to start hiring more clinicians for our Subway Co-Response Outreach Teams, also known as SCOUT. These teams consist of clinicians and police working together to swiftly move individuals with untreated severe mental illness out of the subway system and into care. Response to the team’s early success… The team's early success, Governor Hochul has announced $20 million to expand to 10 teams by the end of 2025.

We're also taking legislative steps asking Albany to pass Assemblymember Braunstein’s Supportive Intervention Act. We have to meet this head-on and the laws must match the policies that we are attempting to implement.

This will empower us to scale up our efforts and ensure that we are considering a patient's entire history, not take to the hospital one day, give them medication and then relieve them, but to take into account their entire history so that we can give them exactly what they need and make the determination whether to admit them to a hospital and give them the care that they deserve.

If we remove these barriers, this would make common sense approaches to change on how we're seeing the mental health crisis adjust. This will allow us to get even more people with untreated severe mental illness the help that they need. And I want to be clear, these change rules will apply to a small number of people. Those whose mental illness is severe and is going untreated.

We are doing no favors for our brothers and sisters living on the street dealing with severe mental health illness and walking by them, waiting until they commit a crime or waiting until they do a violent act and traumatize a family member. Can't have a system with 50 percent of the people at Rikers Island have mental health illnesses and believe that that's the answer to the problem.

We're going to respect civil liberties, but you don't respect individuals when you ignore that they're crying out for help. The cruel aspects of severe mental illness is that it sometimes prevents those who need help to recognize the need that they require. And that is why we have laws that allow involuntary care.

Maintaining public safety and making sure our city continues to be the safest big city in America, it's an ongoing effort and this duality of technology and our mental health approach is going to accomplish the goal that we seek. Transit riders should be safe. Our city should be safe. People should receive the care that they deserve. There's no place for guns and weapons on our transit system and we're going to respond accordingly.

I want to thank all our partners, particularly, I want to thank the police commissioner and his team for continuing to put themselves in harm's way. As I conclude, our hearts go out to the family members of our slain officer. The wake is today, I received a call from the president a few moments ago, sending his condolences, and I would relay those condolences to the family, but we are truly impacted by the loss. We're going to continue to provide the safety to the city that it deserves. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Banks: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Next I'd like to turn it over to our partner here in this mission, the chair and CEO of the MTA Janno Lieber. But prior to that, I'd just like to say is that, you know, the partnership with Janno, I like to say, I mean, we meet weekly. We probably speak daily.

This is not the first collaboration that we're doing here, right? I mean, we have been pushing this from day one and I'd just like to say on behalf of the mayor and this administration, it is truly beneficial to have a partnership like you. I value your partnership and continued friendship in this particular endeavor. But with that, I'd like to turn it over to the chair.

Janno Lieber, Chair and CEO, Metropolitan Transit Authority: Let me be clear, the MTA has never had better partners in City Hall and in city government than this administration. They are passionate about transit safety. The mayor is a transit cop, it's in his blood. It's not changing. And when I talk about how it was different when we were kids and we rode the trains and there was more crime than there is right now and we saw, under the leadership of great police officials, how we turned that around.

And my statement at the MTA board yesterday is, we ain't going back. We ain't going back. We are determined to have the same sense of safety that our kids grew up with. My kids rode the trains all through the night, all hours of the day. Maybe tells you something about their parents but they felt safe doing that no matter what hour of the day or night and we're not going back to where it was in the old days. Mayor, you and Governor Hochul are absolutely committed to doing everything possible to increase subway safety. And I am excited to learn more about this weapons detection technology that you have done so much to evaluate and will continue to evaluate.

But innovation is not just about technology. The city, the state and the MTA are partnering to do a lot of things that haven't been done in the subways but before: surging officers, yes, you responded in January and the result is that the surge of crime in January is back down almost to level versus 2023 as a result of the progress you made.

But now putting 800 officers at the fare array, recognizing that we have to put up a barrier at that point, not just to stop fare evaders, but also to make sure that people who have weapons don't get into the system. That's what is innovative about Operation Fare Play.

And we all know that not every fare evader is a criminal, but literally virtually, every criminal, if you look back at the videos, and we have 15,000 cameras, as the mayor said, when you look back at the video, every one of them jumped to turnstyle or otherwise evaded the fare. But also innovative as a result of efforts already undertaken: gun seizures up 113 percent from the same period last year, weapons confiscation overall up 53 percent.

Also innovative, governor, after talking to the mayor, brought us together with the DAs, because as many people as the great police department arrests, the criminal justice system has to make sure that they don't come back again and again. And just this last week has initiated a series of meetings with the DAs that are about focusing on repeat offenders.

Looking at the stats, the repeat offenders identified by the PD, barely over 100 of them accounted for some huge percentage of crime last year, something north of 20 percent of the crime. We need to make sure that their full criminal history is looked at every time a decision's made about bail, charging decisions, indictment decisions and sentencing, that that has to be a focal point, and that discussion with the DAs is underway and I am determined with the mayor and the governor's leadership that that should yield results.

But the biggest innovation is what the mayor just talked about, is this mental health initiative, what we call SCOUT. Putting teams in the field with MTA cops combined with the clinicians being hired by the city who understand the state mental health law and are prepared to pull the trigger on involuntary commitments.

They know enough to diagnose severe mental illness. They walk through this passageway in Fulton and they let people who are obviously homeless pass in some cases because they don't have the signals of severe mental illness, but they are willing when severe mental illness is identified and there's somebody suffering in the public space, who by the way is likely to be having impact on the sense of safety in the system? This team is ready to pull that trigger and say, you got to come indoors. It's time for you to get treated. And that is an innovation that, again, the partnership between the city and the MTA and the state is yielding.

And we have a lot more beds for mental health than we did before Governor Hochul started pushing the hospitals to reestablish the inpatient psychiatric beds that were lost during Covid. And now we're reopening beds at facilities that were almost decommissioned, like the psychiatric center on Wards Island to make sure there are enough inpatient psychiatric beds, innovation.

This is what the riders want to see us doing. They tell us in surveys again and again that as much as crime, the risk of crime in the system, which is pretty low, concerns them, what really alarms them when they're considering using the public transit system is the interaction with people who are behaving erratically. We have compassion but our riders should not be subject to that sense of discomfort and fear and disorder that is part of the result of this problem we're trying to fight against.

So, as I say, we have to keep working together and innovating on safety. And once again, I just want to acknowledge the leadership we've had in Albany and the leadership we've had from the entire City Hall team. Thank you Mayor.

Mayor Adams: Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Banks: Thank you, chair. Next we're going to hear from the chief of the Transit Bureau, NYPD Chief Michael Kemper.

Chief Michael Kemper, Chief of Transit, Police Department: Chairman Lieber, thank you, and thank you for your continued support and for your leadership. Mayor Adams, commissioner, good morning to all. Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Caban have been clear. I've been clear. Public safety in the transit system is our top priority.

People must be safe and people must feel safe when they're riding the subway. As Mayor Adams mentions, for nearly two months, we've deployed upwards of a thousand additional cops into the subway system each day. Other NYPD initiatives included the deployment of top senior NYPD chiefs into the subway system, as well.

Last week's Chiefs in Transit added to an already enhanced uniform presence in the subways, reinforcing the sense of comfort a uniform cop regardless of rank brings to our riders. More importantly, this allowed department leadership to hear firsthand from riders their thoughts and concerns.

And one of the top complaints for many people we spoke to was fare evasion and how it's not fair to them, the paying rider who's doing the right thing and they're right. Open acts of lawlessness at our fare gates sets a tone of disorder at the very beginning of a rider's journey and has proven time and time again to be directly connected to other more serious crimes in our subway system.

To that, we announced Operation Fare Play earlier this week. Operation Fare Play expands upon our existing efforts to curb fare evasion and directs frantic cops and patrol cops to join forces and work together to address this very visible and illegal act, to immediately set the tone of law and order at the fare gates, exactly what our riders demand and exactly what they deserve.

Our message is simple to anyone entering the subway system, pay your fare, enter properly or there is a good chance you will be stopped by the police, just ask the 31,500 people we already stopped this year and took enforcement action against. And over the past two months, we've seen initiatives like these, including the investment in uniform cops into the subway system, pay dividends: decreasing crime overall 15 percent in February and nearly 16 percent so far in March. This is encouraging progress.

That being said, while overall crime stats indicate that crime is trending downward, we have experienced a few unfortunate high profile incidents that weigh heavily on our riders' minds. We understand this and we recognize our riders' concerns. And trust me, no one is more concerned about the safety of our riders than us at the NYPD.

We remain focused, steadfast and we are committed to preventing acts like those from ever happening again. Your cops are working hard at the task at hand. With increased deployments of uniform cops and plain-clothes cops to the turnstiles, subway platforms and inside moving trains. And they're not just there for show. They are doing incredible work and they're confronting acts of lawlessness head-on each and every day, all on behalf of our riders.

This year, enforcement is at or near historic highs with already over 4,500 arrests made in a subway system, a 54 percent increase from last year. Quality of life summonses are also up dramatically versus last year, specifically, TAB summonses are up 26 percent, with over 45,000 written already this year.

And as of today, enforcement efforts by your cops have led to the arrest of 21 individuals who dared to enter our subway system while illegally possessing a firearm. This is more than double the number from the same period last year. Your cops have also made over 440 arrests this year for people in possession of other weapons such as knives and other sharp objects. That's a 71 percent increase verse last year.

Illegal weapons have no place in the subway system, and as I just detailed, our cops are doing outstanding work and seizing them at or near historic rates. So, and as the mayor announced, our efforts to capitalize on emerging technology all in the pursuit of advancing public safety is always top of mind here at the NYPD. We take great pride in welcoming any innovation that helps keep our riders safe.

And as you know, your cops have a very challenging jobs and do exceptional work, and we are always looking at how we can support and enhance the work that they do. Today's announcement is an example of just that.

Before I end, I have a message to our cops. Know this, you are second to none and words can't convey just how much respect and admiration I have for you. Monday's tragic death of Police Officer Jonathan Diller is a sobering reminder of the dangers you confront each and every day on behalf of New Yorkers. I wear this uniform with great pride because of you and cops like Jonathan Diller. May his devotion to duty and family be an everlasting example for all of us. Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Banks: Thank you, chief. Before we go to questions, I'd just like to reiterate a comment that the mayor always talks about, public safety is prerequisite. During the transition, the mayor had said, hey, the way we manage these cities has to change. And one of the things that he did that never ever got out, it's taken place now, is that he created.

And this is not a deputy mayor who works for him, who says somebody's created, we're giving him it. He came, created this cross-sector security council. And we meet quarterly with 75 of the private security directors of all the major businesses in New York City: Chase Manhattan Bank is there, Morgan Stanley is there, the U.S. Tennis Center is there, Lincoln Center is there.

And the mayor says, this is an evolution of police community relations. He says, we need to be speaking to them. What are they doing? What are they seeing in their area to keep New York City safe? They used this machine, many of them.

So, before we made the decision to look at these type of machines, we reached out to our partners and they says, hey, this is the good, this is the bad. Might want to check this. If you sign a contract, don't make the mistake we made. And that was strictly the mayor's, at his direction. That would be a great story to cover and to talk to those individuals because we have a text, we text back and forth every single day. And that corroboration between us is a lot of the reasons what goes into the decisions that we make. As the mayor says, we don't have to be the Guinea pig. We can let some of our partners let us know of some of the things that they are failing.

I think it's a good story to cover that. And you realize each week we've more and more people are calling asking us to join that. So, this is an evolution of, hey, they've been using this, and they've been saying, hey, did you try this? Need to get this to the mayor because you may look at that. And that is a great partnership and is a mere partnerships that we are doing that has not hit the mainstream media about the corroboration that the mayor is saying, we don't have to do this together. This is a joint effort.

And the conversation that me and mayor has be in search of a solution, not in search of a problem. With that, I'd like to turn it over to questions.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I know [inaudible] interested in this technology for detection and deterrence, but I'm wondering, if this pilot works out, how many of these machines, how many subway stations would they be put at so that they can have the maximum effect of deterrence and detection.

Mayor Adams: There's going to be a complete analysis to determine where we would deploy. A combination, for example, of where you're seeing gun arrests, where you're seeing shot fires. We have a shot fired device that's throughout the city. So, we're going to look at those areas and make a determination on should we place the machines in those locations?

The beauty of this is that they're mobile, they don't have to be fixed. So, we can find out if there's an incident where we're seeing a spike in shootings in a particular neighborhood, we can deploy there, do these spot checks in those areas. So, like you said, it's not only a deterrent, but it's also a way to make sure we detect those who are carrying a gun.

You'd be surprised how many people will see that machine and walk through thinking that no one will pick up their gun. We see it in our hospitals. People are walking in with all sorts of weapons because they don't believe the machine actually works. So, we're hoping bad guys don't believe they work. They will work when we catch them.

Question: [Inaudible] 472 subway stations. So, how many subway stations do you think [inaudible]...

Mayor Adams: Well, we're going to see...

Question: ...the major hubs or is it going to be...

Mayor Adams: Yes, we're going to start out with a few, the pilot, and we believe that if we are successful that we could reach out and get Homeland Security money from the federal government, we believe that we could get some local businesses who would just sponsor of the devices in their train stations near their office spaces. So, we're going to use creativity to get the funding and we're going to use, based on the dollars we have here, to put as many as possible.

The goal is to really lock in the product. We went through extensive examination of the product, testing of the product. Many people don't realize Commissioner Daughtry and his team, they have been out here on the ground looking at the product and if we see the success that we want, we're going to make our investment. But we're also going to look out...look towards the federal government to invest, as well.

Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor, I was wondering, are you still taking [inaudible]? 10 SCOUT teams seems like very few for 472 stations. The [inaudible] at Harlem, there were six cops on the platform. Is there a plan to expand these teams or create more? And then also wondering for Janno, could he elaborate on the criminal justice coordinator for the MTA? Is it for all cases of crime or just transit workers?

Mayor Adams: What was the first part you said?

Question: [Inaudible] it's for the metal detectors.

Mayor Adams: Yes, what we're doing, we're putting a call out. Commissioner Daughtry received a number of calls when people heard we were doing some form of announcement, and so we are still asking everyone to come in.

This is going to be extremely competitive, the best product is going to be used in our city. And trust me when I tell you, this drives innovation. Innovation comes from getting out there, testing and going to the next level and having an open market. Who would've thought, you know, just a device that you were able to read songs on or hear songs on, now and you just about to do everything in your life from taking memos or taking pictures of, you know, tweeting how good I am as a mayor. I mean, you do so much now with your phones. So, that's the evolution that we're talking about. Janno.

Question: [Inaudible] 10 seems like little for the [inaudible].


Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom, Health and Human Services: …Because you made a really good point, Janno, and I just wanted to elaborate on that. So, Kelly, one of the things that's really important about the SCOUT teams is that they're specialized.

You know that we have a lot of people who are doing outreach in the subway already, but having a group of people who know each other, who have been together, who know that their mission is to really focus on. Not just people, you know, who are unsheltered, but people who are in a real crisis.

And knowing we had this pilot for 90 days so far and they were able to remove 90 people in that short period of time. 56 of them were removed voluntarily. About 16 of them were moved to the hospital for treatment and 15 of them were involuntarily confined.

So, I think that this project is really going to have a lot of impact in the ways that we need it. Everybody in the subway doesn't need it. The mayor said it so well, this is not about people with just mental illness, this is not just about people with serious mental illness, it's about people who have untreated mental illness and have been untreated for a very long period of time.

We believe that it is part of their civil liberties and they have the right to get help and to get treatment. And so we're excited about the SCOUT teams.

Lieber: All right, and just on your last question, the criminal justice coordinator ideas so that we can track people who are arrested by our police for transit crimes and to make sure that when those decisions are made at the key moments in that criminal justice process: bail, charging, penalties, sentencing, that everybody knows that the MTA and the public is watching carefully to see whether the recidivist history of that individual is fully taken into consideration, whether what is supposed to be charged as a felony, attack on an MTA worker or on a member of the NYPD is supposed to be charged as a felony. Is it being dropped down to a lesser sense that we're going to be able to track those cases and make our voices heard and our riders' voices heard in that equation?

Question: Yes. Mr. Mayor, will these devices necessarily be what near the turnstiles or above ground when you come in? And can somebody demonstrate how this...

Mayor Adams: That's what this is for. We are going to play with your toy.

But that's the beauty of this. Because it is mobile and not fixed, we could adjust and make the determination of how we want to do it. That's the... Not having a fixed device is really easy for us to move around, determine if we want to do it upstairs, because we can do it outdoors, we could do it downstairs at the turnstile. We're going to be really creative to make sure that we get the maximum results from it.

Question: How many of these do you think are out there besides this brand? How many other types of these detectors?

Mayor Adams: What we have learned, Commissioner Daughtry has been doing all of this. Commissioner Caban has Commissioner Daughtry looking at a lot of these new public safety items.

We have witnessed that once we implement some form, if it's the drones or any other technology, everyone starts calling us from across the globe. And in 2022, we did a meeting with a large number of Israeli public safety companies who gave us different ideas that we built on.

And so we believe there are companies that are out there and we believe there are companies that are going to start looking at this because it's happening in New York. We have the good housekeeping seal of approval here in New York.

Question: Mayor, you mentioned 2022. My understanding is you were looking at Evolv for the last two years and there was some criticism early on that it wasn't really effective, it wasn't noticing umbrellas or if the gun wasn't made of a certain alloy. Is it your understanding that Evolv has evolved or is it that you think the criticisms were overblown?

Mayor Adams: No, no. Here's what I know about technology. The first version continues to get better, and then competition comes to try to produce a better product. And then when it's done in New York, everyone wants their product in New York. When you have a product in New York, you are able to go across the globe.

And so if Evolv had a 70 percent hit ratio, that's 70 percent more than what we have now. We don't have a hit ratio that could identify someone that's simply walking through a device. So, what we saw, based on our testing, the hit ratio was clearly in the 99 percent range. But I want to be clear, if they had a 70 percent ratio, that's 70 percent better than we have… 70 percent more we could make our commuter safe.

Question: Mr. Mayor, can you talk about how this will stop… Like will this have big lines, will big lines being created because of this? And how does it differentiate between keys and knives?

Mayor Adams: I am not the designer of the system so I won't be able to tell you how it differentiates, but it does, you know, and I think you're going to be pretty impressed when you see, you know, how well it picks up the gun. I was really impressed when I saw it, as well.

Question: [Inaudible] expect long lines.

Mayor Adams: No more lines at the token booth, at the lines at the turnstile. So, there are lines of... People will wait in line to be safe while they're on the A line.

Deputy Mayor Banks: Can I just add to that? One of the benefits of… The reason why we looked at Evolv is that it is designed for crowds. That's why stadiums use them. You can walk through this here and never have to stop.

Now, we have some other ones we're looking at as well, and you have to stop a little bit before we can get an actual reading in this one. So, it's designed to negate just that. But as the mayor says, if they know that that's something we are looking at, they're going to be building it for that. And we're looking at another product that soon where we will be looking to look at.

The company's a small company out west. They don't have the capacity to manufacture, but they're working on it. So, you know, the mayor's directed us, like, look out there if somebody's doing anything, whether it's Wisconsin, Iowa, he wants us to know what he wants us to look at. And we've been doing it, and Kaz Daughtry, the commissioner has been doing a great job about that. But that's your question. It's a pinch point. It's designed to negate that particular fact there.

Question: Mr. Mayor, two questions for you. First, the FTC is investigating Evolv for false claims regarding hit rate. Does that concern you? Two, if there's a  hit and a person says, I don't want to go into the system, is he free to walk away? And if he refuses to be scanned, is there a ban for that person to enter the system? And how long does that last?

Mayor Adams: All of… That's why we have Mike Gerber here, our NYPD Law Department, all of that is going to be... There you are.

Deputy Commissioner Michael Gerber, Legal Matters, Police Department: Okay, there we go. So, let me start with your second question. Hi, I'm Michael Gerber. I'm the deputy commissioner of Legal Matters. With regard to the process here, if someone is coming into the subway system, they see this machine, they turn around, they rock away, that's their right. No one is required to go through the machine. Someone walks away. And I want to be very clear. If someone walks away, that's not probable cause, not reasonable suspicion. It's nothing. So, that's one point.

Second point, if someone chooses to go through the machine, to go into the transit system and the machine then alerts on a potential weapon, officers will then conduct a search of that particular area, right? The machine is alerting on a particular area, either on that individual's person or on their bag. And if that alert happens, then the officers are going to do a search in that area only.

Question: And is that mandatory? They can't say I don't want it [inaudible].

Deputy Commissioner Gerber: Correct. If you've chosen to come into the system, you know the machine's there, you choose to go through the machine. Once you've done that, if there's an alert, there's going to be a search in that area.

Question: And then the other question on the FTC?

Mayor Adams: We've had many mayors of deputy legal matters. No one is having more fun than Mike.

This guy's out in the streets… 

Oh, the FTC. We are going to make sure, based on our numbers, hit ratio, false hit, we're going to do our data. People may have had bad experiences with this technology. What we've witnessed that it is living up to our expectation and we're going to do an analysis and determine, you know, hey, is it living up to our expectations? What I'm hearing from my corporations, from my hospitals, from others, they saying this is living up to our expectation.

Question: We're going to see the demonstration?

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Deputy Mayor Banks: Yes, right now we're going to look at the demonstration. Commissioner Daughtry?

[Demonstration takes place.]

Question: Kaz, is it going off of shape or material?

Deputy Commissioner Kaz Daughtry, Operations, Police Department: It's going off of the metal, the barrel length. It's a whole, you know, you can reach out to Evolv communications team, they'll give you the whole breakdown, but it's going off of the metal, the shape. It also does revolvers, as well. So, this technology has evolved in the last two years.

Question: Are you happy with this technology and do you think it's going to make a difference?

Deputy Commissioner Daughtry: I think that it's going to make New Yorkers lower their level of security knowing that we're going to be doing this. I think this technology is going to help keep New Yorkers safe and we're also going to explore other companies and other technology how we can use to implement into the transit system to keep riders safe.

Question: So, what's stopping you from using this now?

Mayor Adams: I love that question. I thought you all planted that question to somebody. We have to wait 90 days before we implement this technology, because of the POST Act. We’ve got to wait 90 days. But think about it, 90 days idealism collides with realism.

Question: Is it just a notification or what?

Mayor Adams: No, we cannot... Here’s my lawyer.

Deputy Commissioner Gerber: So, under the POST Act, it's a 90 day waiting period. It's really a notice and comment period. So, the first 45 days we posted on our website our impact and use policy. Anybody, any member of the public can provide comments, positive, negative, suggestions. That's the first 45 days.

Over the next 45 days after that, we look at those comments, evaluate them, maybe make changes to the draft impact and use policy, maybe things we agree with, disagree with. And so then 90 days out, we publish the final impact and use policy and then we begin using the technology.


Mayor Adams: That's a good question. They can only search where the gun is. Yes, no, I'm explaining that. Yes, that's a good question. You could only search where the gun is. If there's other contraband that's located where that gun is, then that's a whole nother story. And Mike, you could probably go and make sure I'm accurate.

Deputy Commissioner Gerber: So, just to be clear, in the course of conducting that search, that targeted search based on the hit, if there's contraband, for example, seen in plain view, the officer as in any situation, sees something in plain view and can take action.

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