Public Safety

Our residents have strong concerns around public safety. Despite having the toughest gun laws of any city in the country, gun violence is at an estimated 5-year high, though not impacting every neighborhood equally. Due to the COVID and economic crises, interactions with homeless people who may suffer from mental health or substance use issues are more common. Economic crimes and vandalism have added to this sense of insecurity. At the same time, we face a crisis of confidence in our police within significant parts of our community, resulting from systemic racism and ongoing police brutality in communities of color. Sadly, instead of a robust public discussion about remedies, it has become a debate and further reduced to a false choice of either being with or against the police. We all need our city to be safe and to achieve that we need the NYPD, and its leadership, to be more engaged with our communities and more accountable as they “serve and protect.” 


As a Council Member, I will engage all of the stakeholders in a real dialog, to listen and learn from representatives from all points of view, in order to develop, institute, and oversee needed reforms. My ideas for reform include:  


  • Relationship building. Institutionalize community outreach and engagement to build respectful relationships between the precinct and the community it serves, ensure the community has a role in setting priorities for local policing, and make police practices and data transparent to the public.

  • Accountability. We have to engage in honest dialogue to bridge the divide between community members and law enforcement.  Trust between the NYPD and the community requires accountability and knowing violators face sure consequences. The new “NYPD discipline matrix,” which provides disciplinary guidelines for many potential infractions and lists penalties for each offense, is a start but has shortcomings. For example, final decisions are made at the Commissioner’s sole discretion and allow for “mitigating” circumstances to lessen penalties, thus failing to ensure consistent outcomes or remove fears of internal bias. Because this issue is so pressing, I will work hard to improve the matrix as part of an overhaul of the entire system of law enforcement accountability.

  • Crisis Intervention Teams. I support the creation of “crisis intervention teams or units within precincts so a timely response can be made. The teams, whether social workers or police officers specially trained on crisis-intervention tactics, can diffuse and handle situations previously subject to enforcement. As well, establish community health collaborations designed to divert people from the criminal justice system and into the health system.

  • Promoting bias-free policing. Institute a comprehensive set of policies, procedures, and training initiatives to ensure that policing is not tainted by bias based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any other impermissible factor.

  • Regular Monitoring, Greater Transparency. Require regular data analysis to determine whether police activity is having a disparate impact on designated communities and groups. Where disparate impact is found, conduct independent investigations into whether the disparity can be explained by legitimate factors or reflects bias, and to take steps to ensure that patterns of behavior do not erode relationships between the police and the impacted communities.