The NYPD announced a new campaign to further shift its focus from numbers of arrests and summonses to building relationships between the department and the communities it serves, Commissioner James O’Neill said Tuesday.
“This is the next phase of the NYPD,” O’Neill said. “I’m asking all New Yorkers to engage with their police. Together is the only way we can complete our mission.”
O’Neill said the department has to change its approach to preventing crime in order to address the gaps in trust and approval of police.
"We have to do more than eliminate unnecessary enforcement activity," he said. "We have to fundamentally change the way we do our business."
The commissioner cited the unsolved murder case of Jessica White, a victim of a stray bullet in the Bronx in June. The detectives on the case were met with obstacles when posters advertising a reward for information and an image of the suspect's car were taken down by residents.
"Has the NYPD failed Jessica? Or has the entire city failed Jessica?" O'Neill asked. "That’s a very tough question for anyone to answer."
O'Neill said community, or neighborhood, policing is a primary part of the campaign. This means the same cops will be in the same neighborhoods every day, working with residents to solve problems.
"The public will soon have the names, email addresses and – increasingly – the cellphone numbers of the individual police officers who patrol their streets every single day," he said.
But the police department will also need help from the community, O'Neill said.
“This campaign will enlist the business community, grass-roots community groups, the clergy, academia, the entire criminal-justice system and all relevant public and private agencies to work together with us,” he said.
The campaign, which wasn't given a specific name, will be led by Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor, a software company. O'Neill said the department will utilize film and social media to inform the public of the campaign's goals.
The commissioner called on residents to report crimes, speak with district attorneys and testify as witnesses, but added that the process of participating in the criminal justice system as a victim or a witness needs to be safer and less burdensome.
Technology will also play a role in achieving the goal O’Neill said, explaining that the department hopes to allow the public to text 9-1-1 and send information confidentially. It will also ask commercial buildings to install surveillance cameras that the NYPD can access.