Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a series of reforms to the New York Police Department on Friday, saying he would end the “school-to-prison pipeline” with 64 different proposals to advance racial equity in the city’s justice system.
“Over the last month in this city, nearly a hundred meetings and public hearings have been held as part of our process to reform the NYPD, to reform the relationship between police and community. This is one of the most extraordinary efforts to hear all stakeholders and to hear the voices of the public that I’ve ever seen,” Hizzoner said at a Friday press conference. “What has often been called the school-to-prison pipeline, that reality of folks being born poor, lacking opportunity, finding many, many challenges in life materially, and then on top of it ending up involved in the criminal justice system, magnifying their challenges, magnifying the inequality and unfairness, and limiting their lives’ potential. That must be overcome. It’s going to be immensely challenging work.”
According to the mayor’s new initiatives, the city will guarantee that city agencies offer mental health support to incarcerated and New Yorkers, and call on the state to approve “Overdose Prevention Centers.”
Among de Blasio’s most concrete new proposals, the mayor committed to more stringent preemptive evaluations of NYPD officers to “make sure that their work is not in any way, endangering the people of this city.”
“We’re deepening our early intervention efforts to identify officers who have particular problems and challenges that must be addressed,” Hizzoner said. “This, in some cases, means an officer needs retraining. In other cases, it means an officer who, for a period of time, should not be doing duty on our streets, and for whom there needs to be a deeper reevaluation. For some officers that may mean the recognition that perhaps they do not belong on the police force.”
The city’s hiring process for new officers will also place a greater weight on residents of the five boroughs by doubling the weight that city ZIP codes have on city dwellers’ applications to join the force.
“Currently, we provide a five-point preference for New York City residents in the application process to become an NYPD officer,” the mayor explained. “We will now double that to a 10-point preference, and this will greatly advantage New York City residents who want to serve this city on the NYPD.”
According to city data, the Five Boroughs have seen a significant decrease in violent crimes over the past several years, with crime stats like murders dropping from being consistently over five hundred to an average of 416.5 killings per year between 2010 and 2020.
De Blasio’s push to make the police force more representative of New York City residents comes after activists have levied criticism of the NYPD for employing a slight majority of uniformed officers that reside outside of the city.
Atop the new regulations, de Blasio offered his commitment toward reviewing “all elements of city policy that might be contributing to” injustices in the local justice system.
While acknowledging his new efforts, the mayor took responsibility for what he called “unacceptable behavior” by the police force during last summer’s protests that broke out in response to the Minneapolis police killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd.
“It’s going to be very different,” the mayor said. “I spoke very personally about the mistakes made and I took responsibility for my role as leader, need to do better.”
To read the latest city report, which de Blasio based his new proposals on, New Yorkers can click here.