NYPD Strikes Back

In the wake of the cold blooded assasination of two NYPD officers, the men in blue have felt that NY Mayor Bill DeBlasio has sided with those who urged attacks on police.  The most visible result was hundreds of officers turning their backs to the mayor at Officer Ramos funeral.

But the most effective is likely this:

Citations for traffic violations fell from 10,069 to 587 in the week starting Dec. 22

We’ve been highly critical of the police here before. We hold public servants to a higher standard than the ordinary citizen. You want great respect, act in a great manner.

We generally subscribe to the NYPD’s “broken windows” theory of policing. Curb minor crimes, and you’re more likely to curb major crimes. Any company commander knows that if you maintain the small standards, it’s a lot easier to maintain the big standards.

But the broken windows theory, absent quality leadership, is susceptible to becoming strictly a metrics based approach to policing. The point of broken windows policing is to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. But when leaders are measured against their peers by how many citations and arrests are made in their areas, versus how many crimes are reported, the temptation to jigger the numbers is great. Pretty soon, officers have a de facto, if no de jure, quota of arrests and citations to make per shift.

Shortly after the murders of Officers Ramos and Liu, when the dissatisfaction of the rank and file became clear, we opined that if they wanted to make their displeasure known, they should simply stop making revenue generating citations.

Mind you, we’re of the mind that police should never be in the business of issuing citations as a means of generating revenue. The paradigm shift from “peace officer” to “law enforcement officer” has been bad both for the police and the public.

As a rule of thumb, we don’t think public employees, not even police officers, should have collective bargaining powers, that is, unions. But we also recognize that  a mayor of a city such as New York simply cannot govern without the support of the largest, most trusted police department in America.

3 thoughts on “NYPD Strikes Back”

  1. Similar things have been said post Ferguson, that the Ferguson PD was the second largest revenue stream for the Ferguson city government.

  2. In DC, parking enforcement was long the most reliable revenue-generation arena, so the parking signs have been and continue to be utterly confusing – by design. It makes being a skilled reader of those signs an important skill. If you’re from out of town, you’re sure to fail to understand and that’s $100 for the District!

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