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Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton, Immigrant Affairs Commissioner Agarwal Announce Acceptance of IDNYC as Valid Identification by NYPD

December 19, 2014

ID will prevent arrests of thousands of New Yorkers previously unable to provide identification

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Police Department Commissioner William Bratton, and Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal today announced an important update to the NYPD Patrol Guide to officially accept the City’s upcoming municipal identification card, IDNYC, as a valid and recognized form of government-issued identification.

This important step will help prevent the arrests of New Yorkers previously unable to provide reliable proof of their identity during interactions with the Police Department — including many immigrant, young adult, and transgender residents. IDNYC cards with names and home addresses will also be recognized as a form of identification in the issuance of summonses, desk appearances tickets, and property claims.

By encouraging New Yorkers to obtain NYPD-recognized photo identification, the Mayor and the Police Commissioner aim to permit police officers to issue summonses for low-level violations rather than making arrests. This will allow officers to focus their attention on more serious crimes.

“It’s critical for all New Yorkers who come into contact with the Police Department, including those who are undocumented, to be able to identify themselves and to do it in an atmosphere of safety,” said Mayor de Blasio. “I commend Commissioner Bratton and the Police Department for working to ensure that the IDNYC will be safe and secure. This is going to play a crucial role in both preventing unnecessary arrests of New Yorkers who were previously unable to show identification and in deepening the relationship between police and community.”

“This policy change will allow individuals who have a valid IDNYC to be able to receive a summons or desk appearance ticket, instead of being held for arrest processing because they are not able to be identified.  It is part of our larger mission to forge public trust with the communities we serve,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
“Too many New Yorkers are apprehensive to do what so many of us take for granted, such as check in at the security desk of a building, enter a hospital or report a crime,” said Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs Nisha Agarwal. “The acceptance of this card by the NYPD and their commitment to building bridges between law enforcement and our immigrant communities will serve as a model for cities nationwide.”

“For years, many disenfranchised residents of our city had no access to a valid form of identification,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The IDNYC program meets that need by providing safe, secure identification for all New Yorkers, allowing the Police Department to issue summonses or desk appearance tickets for low level offenses and city residents to work with the Police Department more safely and effectively.  As we work to strengthen ties between the police and the communities they serve, the IDNYC will ensure greater access to justice in their interactions with law enforcement, just as the Council intended when it passed the law. I applaud Commissioner Bratton and the New York City Police Department for working with us and understanding the importance of integrating all New Yorkers into our city. It is my hope that this crucial step will prevent unnecessary arrests and encourage more crime victims to come forward.” 

“The inclusion of IDNYC as an acceptable form of identification in the patrol guide will make our city safer for everyone,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm, who sponsored the bill creating IDNYC. “This move will help build trust between the NYPD and the city's diverse communities, especially immigrant New Yorkers.  By avoiding unnecessary arrests, police officers will be able to focus on strengthening community relations and fighting crime.” 

“The acceptance of the IDNYC by the NYPD is critically important to the success of this program on the ground. While the IDNYC is a card that will help connect all New Yorkers, the importance of this card for historically disconnected groups--immigrants, trans-identified people, domestic violence survivors, homeless individuals--cannot be underscored enough. For the first time in many cases, these groups of people will be able to interact with our local police force in a dignified way. At every stage of the legislative process on this identification program, we kept the NYPD actively engaged and emphasized the importance of their partnership. I look forward to continuing to develop this program,” said Carlos Menchaca, Chair of Committee on Immigration, New York City Council

 “I welcome Mayor de Blasio’s latest initiative to enhance community-police relations by expanding the use of IDNYC and enabling the NYPD to focus more of its valuable resources on protecting the public safety of New Yorkers from all walks of life,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson, Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, said. “By encouraging the growing use of IDNYC this plan is an important and practical reform to the NYPD patrol guide that will lessen the demands on our court system while providing access to identification for immigrants, young adults and other New Yorkers who may not have access to any other form of proper identification.”

The NYPD’s Patrol Guide will be modified to include the IDNYC card in the list of acceptable forms of identification, for purposes of issuing both desk appearance tickets and summonses returnable to the Traffic Violations Bureau or Criminal Court. IDNYC will be listed as an acceptable identification card along with New York State Driver and Non-Driver Identification, New York State Driver’s Permit and other government photo identification.

The Police Department played a significant role in the development of the IDNYC program, including advising on fraud prevention protocols and the technology used to build the program, informing the eligibility requirements and documents needed to establish proof of identity and residency, and assisting with outreach.

The IDNYC program and the NYPD jointly developed a comprehensive strategy for educating police officers on the IDNYC program, including instructing training sergeants from all precincts on the IDNYC card and connecting IDNYC trainers with NYPD community affairs officers from across the city.  The NYPD is also issuing an Operations Order to advise all officers of the new policy changes and will also issue guidance at officer roll calls at all precincts. IDNYC staff will be attending precinct community council meetings citywide in January and February to further educate the public about the acceptance of IDNYC cards.

Nearly half of New York City residents over the age of 16 lack a New York State driver’s license, but the policy change will especially impact the most vulnerable New Yorkers, including homeless New Yorkers, out of school and out of work young adults, and the nearly 600,000 undocumented immigrants in the five boroughs. The IDNYC program will be officially launched in the beginning of 2015.

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton's latest initiative to help our constituents feel safer while reducing unnecessary arrests that will also improve the efficiency of the police force,” said Congressman Charles B. Rangel. “This simple yet smart change in policy will make a huge impact on the quality of life for many New Yorkers and strengthen our City as a whole.”

“With municipal identification cards, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers will finally have the ability to enter government buildings, to avoid an unnecessary arrest for minor infractions, or visit their children’s schools – to participate more fully in our civil society,” said Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke. “I commend Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council on their work to establish this program and to involve the community in its implementation. It is my hope that, in 2015, every person will have identification to establish their identity as a citizen of the City of New York.”

“This policy change will go a long way toward preventing a lot of unnecessary arrests in New York City,” said Congressman Eliot Engel. “I commend Commissioner Bratton and the NYPD for embracing the IDNYC program in this manner.”

“I applaud Mayor de Blasio initiative to issue proper identification free of charge to the public,” said Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. “IDs are an important cornerstone to our civic life. With these IDs our entire community becomes safer, more accountable, and stronger.  The Mayor’s leadership on this is a major step forward in the administration of public services in New York City and the nation as a whole.”

“This new policy will help local the NYPD to do its job in a more efficient and effective manner and to focus their efforts on tackling serious crimes,” said Congressman José E. Serrano. “Immigrants, young people, and other vulnerable populations will also be able to carry out day to day activities more easily and live without constant fear of arrest simply for not having access to an acceptable form of identification. I applaud Mayor de Blasio for his efforts to strengthen our communities and to make them more secure with this new rule.”

“Far too often, the most vulnerable among us do not report crimes because they fear interactions with police,” said State Senator Jose Peralta. “By removing the specter of unnecessary arrests for petty violations, this policy takes a strong step toward building bonds of trust between law enforcement and New York City’s New American community.”

“The acceptance of the NYCID as a valid form of identification by the NYPD is a great step forward in ensuring we build a more equal City for all New Yorkers,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. “I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton and the Police Department for providing New Yorkers with a safe and valid form of identification that will help reduce the number of unnecessary arrests and build a better relationship between the community and the police.” 

“By allowing police officers to accept the IDNYC as a valid form of identification, we will cut down on unnecessary arrests and build trust between law enforcement and immigrant communities,” said Assemblyman Francisco Moya, the lead sponsor of the New York DREAM Act. “How can we expect new immigrants to report crimes if they fear arrest for lacking identification? This policy shift has the potential to fundamentally change the way law enforcement and immigrant communities interact.”

“The NYC ID card represents a major step forward,” said Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz. “These new ID cards will help provide over a half-million New Yorkers, regardless of their immigration status, with an easier time to report a crime, lease an apartment, open a bank account and even borrow a library book. Undocumented immigrants, the homeless, low-income elderly people, former prisoners and many members of the LGBTQ community will now be able to obtain city services. We should look to the New York City as a possibility for New York State to consider, too.”

“IDNYC is a major step forward in our ongoing efforts to ensure fairness in the criminal justice system,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. “By providing New York City’s immigrant, young adult, and transgender population with government-issued identification, individuals who might previously face arrests and unnecessary processing will now be eligible for summonses and other alternatives to detention. I commend Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton, and Commissioner Agarwal on today’s important announcement, as well as my office’s Immigrant Affairs Unit for their commitment to establishing a level playing field for all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.”

"Lack of ID pushes many members of our City away from law enforcement. The NYPD accepting IDNYC will help change that. The City is taking a significant step to showing that all residents belong, and to build trust with our communities. I know thousands of New Yorkers will get the card because of this critical component, and I thank the Mayor for his leadership to make it a reality," said Javier Valdes, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York.

“Police encounters often escalate and lead to needless arrests simply because individuals are without valid identification,” said Alyssa Aguilera, Political Director, VOCAL-NY. “This is not only a waste of NYPD time and money, but also needlessly criminalizes low-income, black and brown communities for not having the resources and documentation to secure valid ID. Thank you to Mayor De Blasio and Commissioner Agarwal for this much-welcomed policy change and their leadership in developing IDNYC - a program that will benefit every New Yorker.”

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