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Veteran cops support Community Safety Act, end to stop and frisk

Stephon Johnson | 8/29/2013, 9:48 a.m. | Updated on 8/29/2013, 9:48 a.m.

Just days before the New York City Council overrode the mayor’s veto on the Community Safety Act, a group of veteran police officers and law enforcement organizations came out in support of the bill.

During a news conference held at 1 Police Plaza, these officers and organizations supported the bill that would install an inspector general and build upon current racial profiling laws by expanding protection to LGBT groups.

Anthony Miranda, a retired NYPD sergeant and chair of the National Latino Officers Association, said that the Community Safety Act would curb the NYPD and help the department establish a better relationship with the community.

“As a retired sergeant within the NYPD, I know firsthand that the most effective way to deal with crime prevention is good police work instead of profiling people based on the color of their skin,” said Miranda. “In addition, the City Council’s bill to establish an inspector general for the Police Department will not only address the NYPD’s abuse of its stop-and-frisk program, but will also address broader issues and dysfunctional approaches within the NYPD.”

Charles Billups, the chair of the Grand Council of Guardians, an umbrella organization of African-Americans in law enforcement, also said that the Community Safety Act is beneficial to both the community and the officers.

“By banning the use of racial profiling and mitigating the abuse of the stop-and-frisk program, our police officers can focus on more effective crime prevention tactics while simultaneously developing positive relationships with community members,” said Billups. “Furthermore, establishing an inspector general for the Police Department will create the proper oversight necessary to implement efficient solutions to deal with gun violence and related issues.”

After the federal court ruling on the unconstitutional use of stop-and-frisk, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have continued to defend the police, stating that the program keeps guns off the street and it saves lives. But the data collected by the city and the Police Department concluded that it hasn’t made a real impact on gun violence overall. The veteran officers and law enforcement groups at the news conference have stated that the number of murders per year in the city dropped before he took office (2,000 in 1990 and almost 600 in 2001) and that it’s remained relatively stagnant since he entered office 12 years ago.

“Stop-and-frisk has become a cancer inside the NYPD,” said Peter Killen, a retired NYPD detective who worked in the department for four decades. “It has grown with the support and urging of both Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. It must be cut out and destroyed so that the people of New York City can start to trust their Police Department again. With retraining, we can start anew.”

The Rev. Karyn Carlo, a retired NYPD Captain who worked in the department for 20 years, said that Bloomberg and Kelly are giving New Yorkers a false choice between safety and justice.

“They tell us that, if we want a safe city, we have to accept that the price of that safety is that some New Yorkers will have to live under siege in their own communities, unable to even walk out their front doors without fearing yet another stop-and-frisk, not because of anything they have done, but because of who they are—Black, Latino, disabled, LGBT, Muslim or poor. We can have a city that is both safe and just,” said Carlo. “Public safety does not come from aggressive policing. It comes from good policing, and good policing starts with a good relationship between the police and the communities they serve. I am urging all my fellow New Yorkers, particularly our City Council members—don’t give in to the fear-mongering. Do what you know is right. Overturn the mayoral veto and sign this bill into law.”