The How Many Stops Act requires the NYPD to provide...

The How Many Stops Act requires the NYPD to provide quarterly reports about police stops beginning in October. Credit: AP/Mary Altaffer

A law that requires NYPD officers to record the race, age and gender of civilians they approach during investigative encounters goes into effect on Monday.

The How Many Stops Act, which faced stiff opposition from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD, will provide officials with more complete information about who officers stop during investigations and help prevent abusive stop-and-frisk policing, supporters said. Supporters say it will take police less than a minute to enter the data on their cellphones. 

“This is about bringing transparency, accountability and oversight to those everyday transactions with police,” said Michael Sisitzky, assistant policy director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which backed the legislation. “We will have a more complete picture of public interactions with the NYPD.”

The How Many Stops Act also requires the NYPD to provide quarterly reports about police stops beginning in October. The City Council passed the How Many Stops Act in December. The bill was vetoed by Adams, but lawmakers overrode his opposition in January.

WHAT TO KNOW

  • A law that requires NYPD officers to record the race, age and gender of civilians they approach during investigative encounters goes into effect on Monday.
  • The How Many Stops Act will provide officials with more complete information about who officers stop during investigations and help prevent abusive stop-and-frisk policing, supporters said.
  • The NYPD said it has put in place policies, training and technology to comply with the law. 

Adams and NYPD officials have argued in the past that the bill would slow down response times, hamper investigations and bog down officers with unnecessary bureaucratic duties. 

“While Mayor Adams has expressed concerns over the contents of this legislation, he has been clear that this administration will always follow the law,” a City Hall spokesperson said. “We are prepared to implement this legislation when it goes into effect on July 1.”

The NYPD said it has put in place policies, training and technology to comply with the law. 

“Officers will be using forms on their smartphones to track the required data, which will be aggregated and made public on a quarterly basis,” the department said in a statement. 

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, called the How Many Stops Act a “disaster” and said it will discourage officers from interacting with the public.

“If they were looking for a way to have less people cooperate with police doing investigations, Jumaane Williams found it,” said Giacalone, referring to the New York City Public Advocate who strongly supported the bill.

In a statement issued in December that Williams' office forwarded to Newsday on Friday, the public advocate pushed back on claims that the law would prove burdensome to officers.

“The reality is that this bill, crafted with NYPD input, merely requires sharing basic data on the number and nature of law enforcement stops. I believe that a department with the technological capabilities the NYPD has displayed will be able to do this reporting in a simple, rapid way that leads to better policing and safer streets,” Williams said.

The law was strongly opposed by the New York City Police Benevolent Association, which said the NYPD brass is responsible for resolving operational issues. “As always, police officers will perform our duties as required,” PBA president Patrick Hendry said. 

Supporters said it would take officers less than a minute to log the data into cellphones, providing officials with information that could be used to deter abusive policing in Black and Latino communities.

“The How Many Stops Act will go a long way in fostering transparency, rebuilding trust and ensuring respect for our diverse communities,” said Robert Willis, justice advocate coordinator for LatinoJustice PRLDEF.

The NYPD was already under a federal requirement to collect information about people stopped because police officers strongly suspect they have committed a crime. The How Many Stops Act requires officers to collect data on people they interact with during investigations with people who are not suspected of crimes and people they believe may have committed a crime.

In addition to demographic information, the new law requires officers to report why the stop was made.

Earlier requirements that the NYPD track and report data about police stops have had profound policy implications. Figures showing Black and Hispanic men have been disproportionately stopped, questioned and frisked — despite most not found to have done anything wrong — led a federal judge to rule in 2013 that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policies were unlawfully discriminatory. The NYPD agreed at the time to change its policies.

“The NYC communities most impacted by the NYPD’s abusive stop-and-frisk practices have been calling for full transparency of all street stops and investigative encounters for years,” said Samy Feliz of the Justice Committee, part of Communities United for Police Reform.

Feliz’s brother, Allan Feliz, was fatally shot by an NYPD officer during a traffic stop.

“The How Many Stops Act is now the law of the land,” Feliz said. “The NYPD must honor both the law and the communities that fought for and won these laws by fully implementing them.”

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