Sunday, April 19, 2015
New York Times Announces Deployment of the Ofiice of the Inspector General for NYPD Affairs
For months now, Mayor Bill de Blasio has peppered his remarks on improving relations between the police and the community with references to the new office of the inspector general for the New York Police Department. The office, the mayor has suggested, would be an early warning system for potential flare-ups of the sort that engulfed the department over its stop-and-frisk policies.
On Monday, the inspector general’s office became a part of the real world of police oversight and citizen involvement, unveiling its website and encouraging New Yorkers, including whistle-blowers, to come forward.
The new site signals that the office, headed by Philip K. Eure, is officially open for business, even if not all of its staff of more than 40 has been hired and its work space, within the offices of the Department of Investigation, has the out-of-the-box feel of a start-up.
For New Yorkers still unclear about the new office, basic questions are answered on the site: Who is the inspector general? What sorts of complaints should New Yorkers send? How is it different from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which also investigates behavior by officers?
Indeed, much of the website is taken up with illuminating the inspector general’s role and explaining how it fits in with other city agencies that monitor the activities of the Police Department. (In answer to the last question above: Complaints about the conduct of individual officers go to the review board; the inspector general looks into almost everything else, especially police policy.)
Created by the City Council last year over the objections of police unions and then-Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the inspector general is meant to look at “the big picture,” Mr. de Blasio has said, at patterns and practices on the scale of the department’s stop-and-frisk program, and to report regularly on its findings.
The inspector general has subpoena power, though only through the Department of Investigation.
Mr. Eure has yet to say whether he will look into some areas of department policy that have drawn scrutiny this year, such as the soaring number of quality-of-life arrests and the use of force in arrests like the one that led to the death of Eric Garner.
“The office has been in full building mode for the past few months,” Mr. Eure (pronounced your) said in a statement on Monday. The ultimate goal, he said, is “increasing the public’s confidence in the police force and forging stronger police-community relations.”
In the meantime, New Yorkers may now report — anonymously, if they choose — “any complaints or concerns regarding the New York City Police Department’s operations, policies, programs and practices” to the inspector general’s office in writing or, soon, the site promises, by using a web form. “Whistle-blower protections apply,” the site explains.
Posted by JUSTICE FOR SUNNY SHEU at 4:27 PM