The Right to Know Act  

The Right to Know Act, in effect as of October 19, 2018, is made up of two parts.  

Part One:  

NYPD officers must identify themselves to civilians by providing their name, rank, command, and shield number the beginning of certain interactions. The law also requires officers to have business cards that direct civilians to where they can comment or complain about an encounter with an officer and where they may request any body-worn camera footage of their interaction. You may request documentation of your encounter, including video footage if the officer was wearing a body-worn camera at this link. 

Under the Right to Know Act, civilians may always ask an officer for this business card. However, officers are only required to offer the card in certain circumstances, such as during a frisk, searches of your person, property, vehicle, or home, or at sobriety checkpoints. 

Part Two: 

The second component of the law addresses situations in which officers seek to perform a search but do not have legal justification to do so without the civilian’s consent. In these circumstances, the Right to Know Act requires that officers explain that searches will not be conducted if a person refuses to provide consent to the search. In addition, the law requires officers to document these requests. As is required in all encounters, including when seeking consent for a search, officers are instructed to use language interpretation services pursuant to the NYPD's language access plan prior to the search. This can include the use of bilingual officers and telephonic interpretation.

If an officer refuses to provide you with a business card when it is required, or when you ask, file a complaint with the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board.

I am not sure whether an officer violated the Right to Know Act in my interaction. What should I do?

Contact the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) or file a complaint at . Our investigators will review your incident and evaluate any allegations regarding the Right to Know Act along with other allegations of misconduct within our jurisdiction. The CCRB investigates, mediates, and prosecutes civilians’ complaints of misconduct alleging the use of excessive or unnecessary force, abuse of authority, discourtesy, offensive language, and untruthful statements. 

How do I file a complaint if an officer violated the Right to Know Act?

If you feel that your encounter with an NYPD officer did not follow these guidelines, file a complaint with the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board. You can file a complaint online at , by phone at 1-800-341-2272, at our office (100 Church St., 10th Fl., New York, NY 10007) or by tagging the Agency on Instagram or Twitter (@ccrb_nyc). 

Download "FAQ: What is the Right to Know Act?": English, French, Spanish

Download "4 Facts About the Right to Know Act": English, French, Spanish