August 19, 2013


Cop Unions on Real ‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Problem: It’s the Headcount, Stupid

Fault Mayor, Kelly and Quinn

By Mark Toor


PATRICK J. LYNCH:  Cops short-handed, lack discretion.


Leaders of police unions were not happy with the decision by U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on stop-and-frisk, but some of them blamed the problem on the city shrinking the Police Department from a high of nearly 41,000 officers in 2001 to barely 34,500 now.

They said the drop in patrol strength had forced police commanders to use quotas and other questionable efforts to make fewer cops do the work of a fully-staffed department.

‘Inadequate Funding’ At Root

“Quotas for police activities like summonses and stop, question and frisks are a direct result of inadequate funding of the NYPD and understaffing in local precincts,” said Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. “The Mayor, City Council and agency head should properly fund the NYPD and allow police officers to exercise their professional discretion and judgment, just as they had prior to the dramatic increase in stops caused by quotas.”

He said the Federal monitor and efforts to involve the community in policy-making “will cost this city millions of dollars [and] will do nothing more than make the toughest policing job in the world even more difficult and dangerous.”

“The decision was expected and eliminates any rationale for passing the City Council bias-based-profiling legislation,” said Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association. “Hopefully the Council will see that they have the right issue, but the wrong law after reviewing the Judge’s decision.”

SBA: A Political Decision

Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said, “I think it’s a political feel-good decision. What’s missing is the ability to address victims of crimes—catching the perp.”

He noted, “The number of stop-and-frisks has been high in recent years. The numbers for reductions in crime have also been high...The decision doesn’t solve the issue of how do we take guns off the street and how do we protect victims.”

Michael J. Palladino, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, noted, “We must remember that the court’s decision is aimed at management and not at the rank and file. It is time for management to acknowledge that the current staffing model of the NYPD is broken. City Hall reduced the staffing in the NYPD to dangerously low levels over the past 11 years, and City Council Speaker Quinn allowed it to happen while presiding over budget after budget.

“...The next Mayor and the next Council Speaker must commit to increasing the headcount in the NYPD to avoid employing questionable patterns and practices in an effort to make up for the lack of employees.”