NYPD (79569)
NYPD/Police Credit: Bill Moore photo

With the addition of 1,300 more cops on the street, a new plan by the mayor and the police commissioner aims to improve police-community relations while keeping people safe.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton unveiled One City: Safe and Fair – Everywhere on Thursday. The plan outlines a series of strategic changes that concentrates on neighborhood policing in an effort to strengthen the partnership with neighbors and residents to fight crime.

The plan is designed to solve what city hall says is the central problem in implementing the community policing ideal: “providing officers with the time and training necessary to deepen relationships within the communities they serve, and transforming the role of officers from traditionally reactive responders to calls for service into something more – proactive problem solvers in true partnership with the community.”

The plan was tested out in four police precincts in Washington Heights in Manhattan and the Rockaways in Queens. The mayor and the commissioner say the concept has increased community engagement for officers, yielding collaboration and increased trust and respect between police and the communities they serve.

One City: Safe and Fair – Everywhere plan

  • Tactics: A neighborhood-policing plan that is rooted in local communities and tied to local concerns.
  • Technology: A revolution in NYPD technology, bringing its full capabilities to police officers in the field.
  • Training: Field training for recruits and recurring training for veterans, imparting the skills to manage the human encounters that are the fundamental business of street policing.
  • Terrorism: Strengthened investigative enforcement efforts with federal, state and local partners, as well as significantly enhanced critical-incident response capabilities in evolving overseas conditions that have altered the local threat picture.
  • Trust: A compact with both the communities and the cops to deal fairly and respectfully with one another

In the coming months, the program will be expanded to additional precincts across the city, with a specific focus and emphasis on high-crime areas. Bratton and members of the NYPD met with hundreds of community leaders to help identify existing challenges and realistic and workable solutions. In addition, de Blasio announced the addition of nearly 1,300 new officers as part of the final budget negotiations with the City Council.

“With One City: Safe and Fair – Everywhere, we take the next step and apply our vision on the grandest scale yet to ensure the people of this city have a police force that is deeply connected at the neighborhood level, where police officers are deployed consistently in those communities to build relationships and deepen trust, and community members are fully engaged and mobilized partners in the mission to keep our streets safe,” de Blasio said.

Bratton added that the plan brings changes to how officers engage with people in the community and will bring crime numbers down.

“Today, the NYPD steps into a new era – an era in which the Department brings policing in this city to a new level – where officers are empowered to achieve what so many aspired to when the joined the NYPD: To be the guardians and protectors of every community of New York, working in partnership with the residents of those communities and, ultimately with every public and private entity, to make every part of the city safe and fair for everyone,” he said.

Brooklyn Borough President and former police officer Eric Adams said in statement that community policing works. Over the last year and half he’s met with de Blasio and Bratton about the issue.

“The NYPD has long suffered from a public relations crisis in the communities they police, leading to neighborhood mistrust, declining officer morale, and unnecessary obstacles to making New Yorkers safer,” Adams said. “By actively engaging police officers with community residents, handling local concerns and connecting with City services, we can change the paradigm of what policing is for the better.”

While the One City: Safe and Fair – Everywhere might sound promising, some are skeptical about whether or not it will quell tensions between the police and the community.

Community for United Police Reform (CPR) spokeswoman Priscilla Gonzalez said that while CPR appreciates the mayor and commissioner’s desired approach, there are still many questions.

“The mayor pointed to a new “neighborhood policing” approach as moving away from being ‘top-down’ and towards a more ‘grassroots’ oriented approach, yet communities and so many of the groups that devote themselves to uplifting them have not been meaningfully engaged in the development of this plan. In what was unveiled, the mechanisms for how communities engage in development, implementation and evaluation in a significant way is unclear,” said Gonzalez.