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Speaker Christine Quinn's Letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Stop and Frisk

Speaker Christine Quinn's Letter to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly on Stop and Frisk

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Published by: xoneill7715 on Feb 08, 2012
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01/14/2014

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February 7, 2012Raymond W. KellyCommissioner  New York City Police Department1 Police Plaza New York, NY 10038Dear Commissioner Kelly:I am writing to call your attention to concerns I have about certain police matters and to proposeways in which we can work together to address these concerns.As ever, I applaud the Department’s many successes in fighting crime and keeping New York City safe. Most notably, the fact that over the past decade there were 5,430 murders in New York City compared to 11,058 murders committed during the previous decade, a difference of 5,628 or a 51% decrease. We understand the vast majority of the lives saved were men of color and that part of the NYPD’s policing strategy that led to this decline is based on stop, question, and frisk.However, I am concerned that a rift has developed between the police department and NewYorkers--particularly New Yorkers of color. Much of this division is centered around stop,question, and frisk practices (“SQF”).Although I support the continued use of this practice, I believe that, at times, SQF has beencarried out in a way that has sown distrust in communities of color. For example, young men of color consistently report that they are subject to repeated SQF encounters with police officers asthey go about their daily lives in their neighborhoods. At times these encounters are negative;some result in CCRB complaints related to excessive force or abuse of authority. Further, theracial disparity in the SQF numbers is stark. So it is particularly troubling that Judge ShiraScheindlin found in her decision denying summary judgment in the
 Floyd 
litigation thatmembers of the department may be insufficiently trained in the racial profiling policy. Thiswarrants immediate attention from the department.The department, however, cannot simply train its members and put them on the street. It mustensure adequate and constant supervision, particularly in the area of SQF. The Rand reportcommissioned by the department in 2007 found that officers were not sufficiently trained in boththe implementation and documentation policies around SQF and called for both better trainingand for officers to be fully conversant in SQF documentation policies. SQF paperwork that is both correct and complete puts the department in the best possible position to evaluate whether agiven stop was lawful. Front-line supervisors are in the best position to evaluate whether proper 
 
documentation is occurring. In order to ensure the integrity of the process, front-line supervisorsmust make such evaluation a focus of their work.The alleged existence of productivity measures for SQF is troubling. Pressure to maximize theuse of SQF can lead to its inappropriate use. Officers who feel pressure from supervisors to be“more productive” may engage in excessive SQF activity. Without taking a position as towhether such productivity measures exist, I urge the department to make certain that suchmeasures play no role in SQF activity. Greater transparency on SQF procedures will increaseconfidence in the public that SQF is being used fairly and appropriately.As I have stated publicly I believe that SQF is a viable and effective crime fighting tool and itshould not be removed from the department's tool box. I do, however, believe that given theconcerns raised above, the department needs to improve the practice of SQF in the followingfour areas: Training, supervision, monitoring and transparency, and discipline.Accordingly, the following steps should be taken:
T r ai n in g
The Department should increase and improve its current procedures to ensure that each member,regardless of rank, receives on-going training in cultural sensitivity and is familiar with andagrees to abide by the Department’s written Racial Profiling Policy.
Sup er vis i on
The Department must ensure that all personnel are properly following SQF procedures.In Operation Impact Zones experienced officers should work with the recent academy graduatesgenerally deployed in such zones so they have the supervisory resources they need to learn proper procedures.The proper completion of all SQF paperwork must be a priority for supervisors, andcommanding officers should be held accountable at CompStat for compliance at their precincts.Front-line supervisors should be responsible for Supervisory review of individual stops.There are concerns that officers are being directed to make stops and achieve certain productivitymeasures in their SQF activity. The Department must ensure that supervisors are using SQFactivity appropriately as a management tool.
M o n it o r in g a n d T r a n s p a re n c
 
y
I will support legislation that will require reporting to the Council on the Department’s audits of SQF activities. Such reporting will include: (i) the number of UF-250s audited by the QualityAssurance Division; (ii) information about the adequacy of the UF-250s; and (iii) information onthe number of times “furtive movements” is cited as one of the reasons, or the only reason, for astop or frisk.The Department must provide the Council and the public all of the data underlying each SQF

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