When NYPD officer Michael Birch was summoned into a performance evaluation meeting with his commanding officer and a lieutenant one day in August 2012, he was expecting to hear more of what he’d heard in the past about the way he did his job: that he wasn’t generating enough “activity.” As an officer in the transit bureau, he says, that meant being told to issue more summonses for fare evasion, and arresting more people for stealing fellow straphangers’ cell phones.
Yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said that the current federal investigation into corruption in his department is likely the worst since the Knapp Commission—the municipal probe into the department prompted by Frank Serpico way back in 1970. But really, compared to that, this latest scandal is boring as hell.
Ever since commissioner Bill Bratton took command of the NYPD in 2014, the department has placed special focus on arresting people who commit small crimes like public urination and panhandling. If a widely supported new legislation package in City Council is any indication, that may soon change. Get your pee on! Because this is excellent news.
The ultimate joke of Ray Kelly and Bill Bratton’s blustery war over the manipulation of crime statistics is that both men have done it. That isn’t speculation: the NYPD under Kelly and the LAPD under Bratton were both shown, through rigorous reporting, to have massaged stats with the presumable intent of making their cities look safer. But if the fight isn’t really about the stats, what could it possibly be about?
NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton and his predecessor Ray Kelly have not been getting on of late. Last week, Kelly—who is promoting his book—accused Bratton of manipulating crime statistics. “Shame on him,” Bratton said at a press conference Tuesday. “Let him back up that accusation.” Aw yeah, back that thing up.
On Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced “the most comprehensive street homeless outreach effort ever deployed in an American city.” The city estimates there are between three and four thousand people living on the street. The program will be called “HOME-STAT,” a reference to the NYPD’s COMPSTAT program.
Next time you have your ass handed to you by a member of New York’s finest—be it a hotheaded rookie who plays by his own rules or a grizzled veteran who’s too old for this shit—you’ll have the comfort of knowing that the officer is under strict orders to carefully report every aspect of the smackdown. Will he actually do so accurately? That’s a good question.
A Bill Bratton profile in this week’s New Yorker reveals little that we didn’t already know about the NYPD commissioner. What we do hear about, over and over, is the ongoing commitment of Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio to “broken windows” policing—which Bratton pledges will be around for as long as he and de Blasio are in power.
On Friday, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton appealed to the "tradition, honor, and decency" of his force, asking them to refrain from using the funeral of murdered officer Wenjian Liu as a venue for protest. On Sunday, thousands of cops rejected that request, turning their backs to Mayor Bill de Blasio as he spoke at the service.