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NYPD Commissioner William Bratton notes drop in arrests, warns officers against work slowdown

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Monday that police officers have been making sharply fewer arrests since the killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and warned of consequences if cops were involved in a work slowdown.

"We are taking a long view look in terms of going back over time, looking at very specific precincts, boroughs, tours of duty," said Bratton, who wouldn't at that point call the activity a work "slowdown."

"If in fact we feel, myself and the leadership team, that . . . is what we are dealing with, we will call it that [a slowdown]," Bratton said.

The commissioner was reacting to data and reports that summonses and arrests had plummeted in recent weeks, compared with a year ago.

The drop comes as some rank and file cops, as well as union leaders, have literally turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio over his statements after a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict an officer in the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner.

Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the decline is a result of shifting of manpower to deal with protests, the funerals and the doubling up of patrol cars so that officers can respond to 911 calls in case they are being set up for assassination.

"There is not a union-sanctioned slowdown; it doesn't exist," Mullins said.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association officials didn't return calls for comment. Detectives' Endowment Association president Michael Paladino said in a statement that when cops make arrests they are criticized as "robotic" and when they don't they are accused of being "political and disrespectful."

"You can't win," Paladino said in the statement.

The bad feelings led to de Blasio holding a closed-door meeting with union officials last week. During the funerals for Liu and Ramos, who were posthumously promoted to the rank of first-grade detective, many cops turned their backs on de Blasio when he gave eulogies.

At a news conference Monday to tout 2014's record year in crime reduction, de Blasio criticized actions against him as "disrespectful to the families," while Bratton called it "selfishness."

Bratton didn't cite specific statistics about the drop off in arrests and summonses. But the latest NYPD data for the seven days ending Sunday shows arrests were off 55.9 percent from the same period last year. The drop was 95.7 percent for transit arrests, 67.1 percent for drunken driving and 52.2 percent for narcotics busts, the data showed. All summonses, including for parking and moving violations and criminal infractions, were off on average 92 percent compared with last year, the same as for the week ending Dec. 28.

"We will take a look at who is maybe not doing the work that we expect of them . . . and we will deal with it very appropriately if we have to," Bratton said.

Bratton at the news conference offered a stern condemnation of officers who turned their backs to the mayor at their slain comrades' funerals.

The commissioner had issued a memo reminding his force the ceremony was "about grieving, not grievance." He said he was incredulous that some ignored him, though he lauded the "vast majority" who faced de Blasio and honored Liu.

"What was the need -- in the middle of that ceremony -- to engage in a political action?" he asked. "I don't get it. And I'm very disappointed."

With Emily Ngo

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