The city's Civilian Complaint Review Board, the outside agency set up to handle allegations of police misconduct, took in 7 percent fewer complaints from the public in 2014 than in the previous year, according to its latest annual report released Thursday.
Officials also reported that since December when the agency instituted streamlined procedures, the median time it took the CCRB to close a case against officers dropped to 63 days, well within the organization's goal of a three-month processing time, said executive director Richard Emery.
"This is a total turnaround of an agency that never did anything in less than a year, which frittered away its franchise by holding cops in suspense and complainants who didn't care about their complaints," Emery told Newsday.
But while the number of complaints received by the CCRB has continued to drop since 2010, when they numbered 6,466, the agency has substantiated a growing number of improper use of force allegations against cops, which numbered 73 in 2014, the report stated.
However, the vast majority of allegations of use of force lodged against cops, some 1,093 in 2014, were either unfounded or the officers were exonerated, according to the report.
Emery attributed the overall decline in complaints to a drop off in hostile police encounters with civilians, the massive decline in stop and frisk, and new training implemented by the NYPD.
The total number of substantiated complaints of all kinds, including improper language, discourtesy and abuse of authority, rose from 17 percent to 19 percent, according to Emery. He attributed that to the increased use of video cameras that create better records for the CCRB to judge a cop's conduct.
"It is no longer he said, she said," said Emery about the importance of videos.
Since Emery and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton took their jobs in early 2014, both the CCRB and the police have said they plan to work together more closely.
"We are in the process of reviewing the report and look forward to working with the CCRB," the NYPD said in a statement.