Editorial: What next mayor should tell NYPD
Help wanted: A savvy mayor and a street-smart police commissioner who can steer the nation's largest cop shop through an angry and perilous time.
The City Council yesterday overrode a mayoral veto to approve the creation of an unnecessary inspector general position that will ride herd on the NYPD. The council also overrode a veto to enact a law that lets citizens sue the NYPD for street tactics they view as racial profiling.
The council might want to call that measure the Plaintiff Attorney Employment Act of 2013.
Neither law will help the NYPD rein in a stop-and-frisk program that has veered out of control. Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin last week beat the city to the punch on that one. She appointed a special monitor to make sure stop-and-frisk tactics are only used when officers have a reasonable suspicion to believe someone broke the law.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- the leading bitter-ender on a massive stop-and-frisk program -- says the council has made it harder for police to protect the city. That's not at all clear. But we do know that while Bloomberg leaves office at the end of the year, most candidates to replace him acknowledge a need to keep the program -- but fix it.
Yet the council's piling on could do real damage.
The NYPD in the last 12 years brought crime to record lows. It's amazingly successful. But with a federal monitor, an outside IG, and a law that all but invites suits against cops for routine operations, the going could get tough.
The next mayor must burn up the shoe leather -- going to precinct roll calls and citizen forums in every borough -- to emphasize the city isn't moving away from aggressive police work, that it simply wants to avoid targeting and alienating young minorities who've done nothing wrong.
The appointment of multiple masters is likely to create internal divisions and confusion in the NYPD. So it falls to the next mayor to remind our 35,000 cops that aggressive policing remains an order for every officer -- while New Yorkers also expect a force led by seasoned officers who know the neighborhoods they patrol and respect the dignity of residents they safeguard. Nothing less will do.