Mayoral candidate Joseph Lhota slammed a bill that would create an independent inspector general who would review NYPD policies and procedures when enforcing the law, a move he said will "handcuff" police officers from doing their job.
"This is creating a whole new bureaucracy that would impede the powers of the mayor and police commissioner," Lhota, a Republican, said Monday morning. He spoke at a news conference outside City Hall, where he cited recent NYPD crime statistics showing an increase in rape, felony assaults and grand larceny.
Lhota said approval of an inspector general could cause an increase in crime. He aimed his opposition at Democratic mayoral candidate and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who supports an inspector general. The position would be part of the existing Department of Investigation, which has subpoena powers. The bill is pending a City Council vote.
"Christine Quinn demonstrated her lack of understanding of the NYPD by supporting the IG bill," Lhota said. "It is shocking and disturbing that she would jeopardize the tremendous successes New York City has made in combating crime."
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly have come out against the bill, asserting that an array of oversight agencies already monitor the NYPD. Among them are the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the NYPD Internal Affairs Division and the Mayor's Commission on Police Corruption.
Supporting Quinn and the bill are several former city lawyers with corporation counsel who believe an independent general inspector will "improve the NYPD's relations with communities . . . and improve the work of the NYPD." The letter of support was distributed to reporters at the news conference by City Council staff.
Also supporting the bill is the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, which maintains an inspector general will "address the issue of unfairness and remedy growing community distrust" as a result of the stop and frisk policy. The policy is the target of several federal lawsuits. "The proposed external review process will foster the sense that our goals can be accomplished together," according to the caucus letter addressed to Quinn.