New York City residents will be able to have an input when it comes to selecting the Police Department precinct leaders for their communities, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at his press conference on Thursday.
The initiative is intended to bring officers and the communities they serve together to keep their neighborhoods safe, hold police accountable, and let residents’ voices be heard.
Under the new system, police precinct councils will interview candidates for commander roles from a list provided by the Police Department, and give their feedback to the Police Commissioner, who will have the final decision. The new commander will be expected to work with the precinct council to keep the community safe.
“We’re bringing the voices of the community forward to determine who would be the right leader. And that’s going to, I think, help in a myriad of ways – it’s going to improve dialogue, it’s going to improve accountability, it’s going to give folks a sense of real, real buy-in,” said de Blasio. “I think it’s going to help us improve the work on the ground and deepen that bond.
The mayor was joined by Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to announce the initiative.
“People want to feel a connection to their NYPD and especially at the leadership positions. And this, I think, really goes very far into building that trust both ways,” said Shea. “So, from my perspective, it’s a win. It’s an opportunity for precinct commanders to really, from the ground floor, speak to the community that they’re working so hard to protect and serve, and get to know them from an early step. One of the things that we hear at those reform meetings are, don’t take our precinct commanders away – we want to know them longer and we want to work with them longer. I think this is a win-win. I think it’s a positive for New York City.”
“Community policing must be responsive to what a community wants and needs,” Adams said. The mayor credited Adams for the policy idea.
It is the latest police reform plan aimed at cultivating trust with the NYPD and the residents they serve; earlier this month de Blasio announced police records will be posted online in a discipline matrix for the public to be able to track and ensure cops who acted violently or inappropriately faced consequences.