March 12, 2021
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the second phase of the City’s police reform report, building on the initial set of 36 proposals included in the New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative draft plan. With the aim of undoing the legacy and harm of racialized policing, the reforms announced today will bring greater accountability to the NYPD, make New York City residency a more significant factor in hiring officers, and end the poverty-to prison-pipeline.
“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.”
“When we begin this process to take a hard look at police reform we wanted to do it with partners. We needed to see these issues not just through our own eyes but also through the eyes of those we serve. I want to thank Jennifer Jones Austin, from the Federation of of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Arva Rice from the Urban League and Wess Moore from the Robin Hood Foundation for joining us at the beginning of this path and staying with us as we travel down this road to changes that we all hope will make policing more balanced, fair, transparent and accountable," said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
The new proposals announced today in Part 2 are part of the five, larger goals set forth in the initial draft plan. These proposals include:
The Decriminalization of Poverty
New: Create an Ending Poverty to Prison Pipeline initiative to prevent and reduce justice system contact and connect low-income and justice-involved clients and their families with streamlined services.
New: Push to adopt new public health approaches to reduce overdoses, including the approval of Overdose Prevention Centers at the State level.
New: Issue an Executive Order requiring City agencies to establish service plans to ensure access to health and human services for individuals and families affected by the criminal justice system.
Transparency and Accountability to the People of New York City
New: Expand the Early Intervention program to identify and assess at-risk officers.
New: Support a State law to ensure that pension forfeiture or reduction is possible in the most egregious cases of police misconduct.
New: Create a Citywide policy to strengthen transparency and accountability in the use of biometric technology.
A Diverse, Resilient, and Supported NYPD
New: Make residence in New York City a more significant factor in hiring police officers.
New: Reform the promotions process to focus on transparency, including complaint and disciplinary history.
Recognition and Continual Examination of Historical and Modern-Day Racialized Policing in New York City
New: The NYPD will participate in a comprehensive, independent review to identify and assess persistent structures of racism within the Department that affect New Yorkers.
Community Representation and Partnership
New: Pilot the Advance Peace Model, a program championed by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, that creates an effective mentorship connection between violence interrupters and young New Yorkers who are at-risk of engaging in gun violence and helps them to achieve important goals.
New: The NYPD will strengthen its relationship with immigrant communities citywide.
The report features letters from PC Commissioner Shea and CCRB Chair Davie. Key excerpts from the PC's letter include:
"We must acknowledge the clearly undeniable truth that more than 400 years ago, a caste system based on a narrative of racial difference was used to justify almost 250 years of slavery, followed by more than 150 years of systematic racism. These many years of racist policies and practices have caused - and continue to cause - immeasurable harm, trauma, discrimination, and injustice for so many in our nation."
"...And on behalf of the NYPD, I pledge that we will continue on our path to be transparent, accountable policing - a path which recognizes racialized policing must be guarded against and where bias is never tolerated. Make no mistake, we all want the same thing: A New York City that is safe and fair for everyone, everywhere. We want this for each other, and for our children.”
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:
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 public is encouraged to comment on the City’s draft plan. The full report can be read here.
“I am encouraged that the city’s proposed plan centers squarely on the most critical elements of true reform, including the decriminalization of poverty,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA. “We cannot truly overcome systematic racism in policing without addressing the experience of being low income and of color. The proposed plan calls for the examination and ending of policies that over-police lower income and minority communities, and for prioritizing and invoking principles of budget justice to increase and enhance key services that support low-income individuals, families and communities, to bring an end to the poverty to prison pipeline.”
"Racialized policing practices that traumatize Black and brown New Yorkers is a generational issue that remains a real challenge to overcome for NYPD. Today's announcement by the Mayor gives us a reason for hope. We commend the Mayor and the Police Commissioner for singling out this issue as a one of several cornerstones in the City's plan to reform and reimagine policing in New York City. The plan includes stronger transparent measures related to disciplinary actions undertaken because of police misconduct; this element of the plan is essential to reestablish trust between NYPD and the people of New York City. We look forward to the Council's debate on this plan and the Mayor's plan to assign sufficient financial resources to make this plan a reality," said Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood.
"Accountability has to be the core of any police reform plan, and this report takes essential steps toward a police department that is accountable to the City of New York, where officers who shouldn't be on the force are identified early and officers who harm communities are held accountable for their actions,” said Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League. “The work of building trust with New Yorkers is not over, but this place is an essential step toward achieving this major goal. We must stop criminalizing poverty, reduce the constant interactions with the police that lead to negative results, and combat racial disparities in the criminal justice system that result. I am grateful to the people who told us their truth about their experiences with police during this process, and I want them to know that our work isn't over. We will move forward to implement and build upon this plan together."
“We are at the forefront of dismantling racial and bias injustices regarding law enforcement in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio's police reform efforts moves us towards that critical end. It is a path that envisions inclusion and equality with the goal of peaceful and prosperous communities throughout our city and we're looking forward to continue being a part of this historic process,” said David Caba, Senior Program Director, Bronx Rises Against Gun (B.R.A.G.) Violence.