Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell conducted a “State of the NYPD” address in Midtown Wednesday in which she announced several new law enforcement initiatives that in included community relation outreach and department improvements.
Sewell stood on stage inside Cipriani on 42nd Street before a packed house of police officials and Police Foundation members and unveiled the NYPD’s 2023 Strategic Plan in her half-hour speech. The presentation began with Sewell discussing 2022, touting that crimes, such as shootings had dropped by double digits before looking to the future.
Championing the NYPD’s partnership with the Police Foundation, Commissioner Sewell unveiled new technology law enforcement will be utilizing going forward, such as the overhaul of the NYPD app found on officers’ phones and a new augmented reality program. This new tech will allow cops to simply lift their phones to be provided with real-time data regarding locations and suspects.
For some, this will undoubtedly spark concern and fears of an all-seeing police eye. However, Sewell attempted to alleviate these fears during a question-and-answer session following the briefing.
“Let me just clear that up—it’s not video. This is information that we already have in use every single day,” Sewell said. “We are not adding new information, we’re taking more information; we are uploading the information that we already have in a number of different systems in the NYPD to be able to have it at the officers’ fingertips in the augmented reality program. They just hold it [the cell phone] up and the information relevant to that area will come up.”
The top cop also announced that the NYPD plans on bringing the public further into the fold with the development of a new app that will allow users to inform the NYPD of a crime, alert New Yorkers of nearby threats, or attend meetings with local precincts.
“The NYPD is going to be the most accessible police department in the world by providing direct level access to services. We are going to bring information directly to the public and our community partners,” Sewell said. “Our forthcoming app will give the public the ability to file certain criminal complaints, locate a precinct, and get the schedules for local community precinct council meetings. You will be able to retrieve a collision report, get push notifications about public safety threats, traffic issues, and other critical incidents.”
Sewell also revealed that the police force plans on expanding the CompStat system — the statistic and information sharing program that the NYPD has used to reduce crime for more than 30 years — to the public through what she called CompStat community forums. According to Sewell, these town hall-style forums will be held through Zoom.
“We think that the communities that we serve, have their own ideas about what’s happening in their communities, and to bring them into that process where they can actually talk to us and show us what they need from us. This is their opportunity to tell us what they need from their Police Department,” Sewell said.
The police commissioner likewise announced some sweeping changes within the department, such as revamping precinct break rooms and revealing a brand-new police vehicle.
This new patrol car has been completely redesigned and is outfitted with 360-degree surveillance cameras. In addition to the video capabilities, the cruiser will have a QR code printed on its side for New Yorkers to scan. The car is decorated with the green colors of the century-old NYPD flag.
“The re-striping of the NYPD vehicle was something we had been in talks about for a while. We talked about that even icons need a revamp every now and then. It is the 100-year-old flag of the NYPD that we’re putting on those vehicles,” Sewell said.