A new unit to investigate the use of deadly force by NYPD officers will employ computer graphic technology to recreate incidents, much the way television news broadcasts do now, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Thursday.
The proposed use-of-force unit stems from the nearly yearlong re-engineering review of the NYPD and builds off Bratton's experience with a similar operation when he was police chief in Los Angeles, officials said.
The technology will include 360-degree panoramic cameras used in accident investigations to give wide fields of view, Bratton said.photosRecent NYC mug shotsDataNYC crime rates
"You watch the newscast and you have these virtual representations . . . we currently do not do that," he said.
Currently, NYPD borough commanders lead investigations into use of force, mainly shootings by cops, and Bratton said he was concerned that the commanders already have a lot on their plates.
"They are very busy," Bratton said during a briefing with reporters. "I would rather have investigations done by a special unit that does nothing but those investigations so I get standardization of the way it looks."
Under current practice, borough commanders brief Bratton on police shootings as soon as 24 hours after an incident. Also providing information are officers from crime scene units, field investigation units and borough detective commands, a police official said.
Bratton wants the procedure streamlined so that it can work faster when necessary and not involve too many layers of command.
"Each borough commander has different strengths," said a high-ranking NYPD official who did not want to be named.
Police use of deadly force through the use of firearms has generally declined over the years. In 1971, a total of 93 people were killed and 221 injured by police gunfire, while that number dropped to eight killed and 17 injured in 2013, according to NYPD statistics. Total shooting incidents fell steadily by 90 percent from 810 in 1971 to 81 in 2013, the data showed.