NYPD stats show police shootings down last year to lowest level since '71
NYPD officers last year were involved in the fewest shooting incidents since 1971, the year detailed records were first kept, a department report revealed Thursday.
Cops fired their weapons in 79 cases in 2014, down from 83 instances in 2013, according to the latest version of the NYPD's Annual Firearms Discharge Report.
Thirty-five of last year's cases involved cops in an "adversarial conflict," down 12.5 percent from 2013, when there were 40 such shootings, the report shows.
This year's review of firearms cases also reported that cops killed eight people during adversarial shootings in 2014, the same as in 2013. But the study also noted that two officers, Dets. Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were shot and killed last year, the first such police deaths by gunfire since 2011.
The latest firearms report was dedicated to the memory of Liu and Ramos, who were both slain December while they were seated in their patrol car in Brooklyn.
At a news conference announcing the report's findings and new use-of-force policies, Commissioner William Bratton said he expected shootings by police to continue to drop.
"We spend a lot of time inspecting how we use firearms and the expectation is we will continue to reduce to the bare minimum necessary the use of firearms by our personnel," Bratton said.
Chief Kevin Ward, Bratton's chief of staff, said statistics show the department may record even fewer shootings this year, an indication of police restraint. As of Thursday, there were 50 police shootings, compared with 61 for the same period in 2014, Ward said.
Each year, the report dissects and drills down into the minutiae of police-involved shootings. The summary noted that most cops involved in adversarial shootings generally had fewer than 10 years on the force; such shootings were more likely to occur on a Sunday; the majority of shootings were between 3:30 p.m. and to just before midnight. More than half took place in Brooklyn and about 25 percent in the Bronx.
The report also noted police fired 18 times when attacked by dogs last year, striking the animals 15 times. Police most often had to fire at dogs while executing warrants or in cases of vicious animal reports.
One additional sobering statistic in the report was that four police officers last year committed suicide with their service weapons, down from six in 2013.