Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday rejected a suggestion that police officers who live in the suburbs cannot effectively serve the neighborhoods of the city, citing the work of a slain NYPD detective who lived on Long Island.
In his weekly segment on WNYC’s “Brian Lehrer Show,” de Blasio said a residency requirement isn’t necessary. He pointed to Det. Brian Moore of Massapequa, 25, who was killed last year while on patrol in Queens, as an example of dedicated policing.
“I heard the stories of what he was doing connecting to the neighborhood he was serving,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said. “I don’t think it’s as simple as where you grew up.”
The show’s host, Lehrer, had questioned the mayor on the difficulty of implicit bias training, suggesting, “If somebody is coming in from an all-white suburb, even if they are coming in with a good heart, the bias is going to be hidden.”
De Blasio said about half the members of the NYPD live outside of the city, but the department is changing “organically” and growing more diverse with officers living closer to the communities they police.
The mayor also pushed back forcefully against a characterization of the NYPD by a caller as an “institution of white supremacy” that sends white officers to police neighborhoods that are predominantly black and Latino.
“There are thousands and thousands of police officers who want to get it right, who want to serve communities of every kind,” de Blasio said. “I think we’re in a better place than you describe.”
De Blasio spoke about neighborhood policing amid the impending departure of Police Commissioner William Bratton, who will be succeeded by the current Chief of Department, James O’Neill.