NYPD brass told a City Council oversight committee Tuesday that the department is working to mend rifts between cops and the communities they serve.
A pilot program starting soon at four station houses -- the 33rd and 34th precincts in Upper Manhattan and the 10th and 101st in Queens' Rockaways -- will divvy up territory within the precincts into "neighborhood-based sectors," with designated officers tasked with familiarizing themselves with the community.
The effort is one of the ways Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio are putting a greater emphasis on "bringing police and community together," as de Blasio pledged during his 2013 election campaign. The promise gained urgency last year amid protests over the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.
"The guys who ride in the radio cars are going to be in the same sectors every single day," said Assistant Chief Terence Monahan, commanding officer of the NYPD's chief of department's office, at the hearing of the Committee on Public Safety.
For about a third of their shifts, the cops in the program would generally be exempt from handling 911 calls and instead spend time establishing relationships with people in the neighborhood and getting to know the territory.
Another program touted by NYPD officials Tuesday is in the 25th and 73rd precincts. Called "Project Reset," the effort steers 16- and 17-year-olds who would otherwise face criminal court for misdemeanors such as graffiti, public marijuana smoking and shoplifting, to "community justice centers" for counseling, said Susan Herman, the deputy commissioner for collaborative policing.
She wouldn't say directly whether she thinks the council's push to add 1,000 cops to the 35,000 now allocated in the mayor's preliminary budget would help her efforts.
"I think the conversation about numbers of cops and resources are all part of the ongoing budget conversations we're having now," Herman said.
As part of the healing effort, Herman said, police officials were also attending religious services at houses of worship and dropping in on gang members and others prone to criminality, offering social services but also telling them, "The violence needs to stop." The officials warn them of the legal consequences if it doesn't.
The department's efforts are intended to foster more understanding, officials said.
"I think that police officers have enormous power, and it is inherently an unequal relationship when someone is enforcing the law and can exercise that kind of authority," Herman said under questioning by Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Brooklyn).
"It doesn't mean that you can't relate to each other in constructive ways. It doesn't mean that you can'tbe respectful. It doesn't mean that you can't explain to people why you're doing what you're doing."
this quote is good but needs linkage to something they're doing.