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City Council Passes Comprehensive Police Reform Resolution to Confront Legacy of Racialized Policing and Deepen Accountability, Trust between Police and Communities

March 25, 2021

Major initiatives to restore accountability and trust between communities and police through five central goals

NEW YORK—The New York City Council today passed the Council Resolution on Police Reform, an initiative that builds on the proposals outlined in the New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative draft plan. Following seven years of consecutive police reform under the de Blasio Administration, the Resolution confronts the painful legacy of racialized policing and deepens accountability and the bonds between police and the communities they serve.

"These reforms will confront centuries of overpolicing in communities of color and strengthen the bonds between police and community," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I'm grateful to our co-sponsors—Jennifer Jones Austin, Wes Moore, and Arva Rice—for their vision and leadership throughout this process, as well as Speaker Johnson and Chair Adams. Together, we'll make our city safer and fairer for generations to come."

"We believe the plan ratified today by the City Council reflects the themes brought forward with reforms that center squarely on bringing an end to such policing, the criminalization of poverty, and the lack of transparency and accountability in the NYPD. We know there is more to be done," said Police Reform and Reinvention Collaboration Co-Sponsors Jennifer Jones Austin, Wes Moore, and Arva Rice. "Now the work begins to implement this plan without delay, and ensure that the City's budget is fully aligned."

The Resolution is the product of a months-long engagement process through the New York City Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. Spanning nearly 100 meetings and town halls, including nine public listening sessions, the Collaborative sought testimony and feedback from a broad range of New Yorkers, including CBOs, advocacy groups, members of clergy, racial justice advocates, cure violence providers, youth groups and youth voices, ethnic and religious organizations, BIDs and small business owners, non-profits, LGBTQIA+ 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 and oversight bodies.

The Resolution focuses on five goals:

  1. The Decriminalization of Poverty.
  2. Recognition and Continual Examination of Historical and Modern-Day Racialized Policing in New York City.
  3. Transparency and Accountability to the People of New York City.
  4. Community Representation and Partnership.
  5. A Diverse, Resilient, and Supported NYPD.

All initiatives will be launched, and many fully implemented, in 2021. By May 1, 2021, the City will publish a commitments tracker that includes implementation timelines, implementation status, and metrics for all the following proposals.

Goal 1: The Decriminalization of Poverty

This plan prioritizes the concept of budget justice, in recognizing that we must reduce the likelihood of justice involvement by investing in services and supports for low-income communities. For far too many New Yorkers, there is an inescapable cycle of disadvantage and criminal justice involvement.

This pattern is particularly true in low-income and communities of color, which had experienced decades of under-investment in critical services.

This plan addresses these issues in fundamental ways:

  • Creating an Ending Poverty to Prison Pipeline initiative in June 2021 to prevent and reduce justice system contact and connect low-income and justice-involved clients and their families with streamlined services

  • Issuing 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

  • Expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program by adding 5,000 new spots this summer for high-need CUNY Students

  • Funding a pilot program for families with children who are at risk of homelessness, with the goal of reaching them before their housing situation reaches the point of a crisis.

  • Expanding Mobile Treatment Teams and eliminate existing disparities in access to mental health care

  • Examining and end policies that perpetuate the cycle of impoverishment and incarceration in communities of color

  • Committing $15 million to fund critical anti-violence programs and social services programs

  • Pushing to adopt new public health approaches to reduce overdoses, including the approval of Overdose Prevention Centers at the State level

  • Developing new strategies to combat trafficking while working to eliminate arrests for selling sex

  • The Council will also vote on legislation to establish a crash investigation and analysis unit within the Department of Transportation

Goal 2: Recognition and Continual Examination of Historical and Modern-Day Racialized Policing in New York City

Racialized policing in New York City has existed since the Department's inception and persists through contemporary police policies and practices. Addressing the legacy and harm of racialized policing in New York required a recognition and public acknowledgement of the Department's troubled history and current challenges with race .

We must conduct a critical examination of the policies and practices that perpetuate structural and institutional racism, and act urgently to address them:

  • Creating a dedicated process, including a comprehensive report, to acknowledge, address, and repair past and present injustices and trauma caused by the practice of racialized policing

  • Conducting a comprehensive, independent review to identify and assess persistent structures of racism within the NYPD

  • Requiring supervisors to proactively monitor discretionary officer activity for indications of biased-based policing and take corrective measures immediately within the NYPD

  • Augmenting racial bias training for NYPD leadership

  • Comprehensive restorative justice training for NYPD leadership and NCOs to repair relationships with communities

  • Requiring the reporting of traffic stops to address disparate enforcement

Goal 3: Transparency and Accountability to the People of New York City

To earn the trust of all the City's communities, the NYPD must be transparent while holding members accountable. The City will strengthen police oversight at the individual and systemic level by:

  • Holding police officers accountable for misconduct through internal NYPD disciplinary decisions that are transparent, consistent, and fair

  • Strengthening the CCRB by expanding their authority to investigate biased based policing and initiate their own investigations

  • Supporting a change in State law to give CCRB access to sealed PD records for purposes of investigations, especially biased-policing investigations

  • Supporting a change in State law changes to increase the 30-day cap for suspensions and create a pension forfeiture remedy for the most egregious misconduct cases

  • Monitoring implementation of the Discipline Matrix and enhance transparency regarding its use

  • Creating a Citywide policy to strengthen transparency and accountability in the use of biometric technology

  • Equipping New York City Sheriff's Deputies with body-worn cameras

Goal 4: Community Representation and Partnership

Meaningful partnership must be central to the Department's strategies, and can be bolstered through the focused recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of those from the communities most impacted by policing.

Officers must feel like genuine engagement and thoughtful problem-solving is their job, and not a distraction or an add-on. The City will commit to:

  • Ensuring the composition of the NYPD's workforce is reflective of the community it serves at all levels of the organization and focus hiring outreach on underrepresented communities in the force

  • Piloting the Advance Peace Model, a new approach to helping youth who are at risk for involvement with gun violence

  • Tripling the City's Cure Violence workforce by Summer 2022

  • Incorporating direct community participation in the selection of Precinct Commanders

  • Codifying and strengthen the Mayor's Office to Prevent Gun Violence

  • Expanding the Community Solutions Program from the initial Brownsville pilot

  • Elevating the feedback of the community through CompStat and Enhanced Neighborhood Policing

  • Ensuring the Special Victims Division is a model for national best practice through an independent review

  • Improving support for victims of domestic, gender-based and family violence through access to community-based resources

  • Involving the community in training and education by expanding the People's Police Academy

  • Expanding the Precinct Commander's Advisory Councils

Goal 5: A Diverse, Resilient, and Supported NYPD

The City aims to develop the most diverse and resilient law enforcement agency in the nation.
The City is committed to building upon the Department's evolving culture by increasing supports and opportunities and promoting professionalism and excellence:

  • Recruiting officers who reflect the communities they serve, with a commitment to recruit and retain more people of color and women

  • Reforming the promotions process to focus on transparency, including complaint and disciplinary history

  • Ensuring that a diverse candidate pool is considered for top NYPD promotions by Mayoral Executive Order

  • Making residence in New York City a more significant factor in hiring police officers

  • 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

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

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