February 3, 2014

Bratton Stops And Questions ‘Impact,’ Returns to Mentors

By Mark Toor


PATRICK J. LYNCH: A solution to past problems.


WILLIAM J. BRATTON: Seasoned cops add flavor.


Another initiative of former Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly is undergoing renovation.

The day after Mayor de Blasio announced a settlement that would end the appeal of the court decision declaring the NYPD’s stop, question and frisk program unconstitutional, the New York Times reported that Commissioner William J. Bratton plans major changes to Operation Impact.

The program involves sending new Police Academy graduates to flood high-crime areas. Before it was established, rookies would go to precincts and partner with more-experienced officers. “Impact” officers were mostly assigned to foot posts and told to deal with crime whenever they saw it.

Critics of the program said the rookies missed much of the field training that would make them competent, well-rounded officers. Impact was also blamed for many unjustified stop-and-frisks, with officers who had not yet developed their street smarts selecting people without proper legal cause and abusing them verbally and physically to establish their authority.

'Change the Dynamic'

“I want to change the dynamic of kids coming out of the academy and immediately being put into Operation Impact assignments, where they really have an almost single-minded focus and really don’t get a full flavor of the job,” Mr. Bratton said, according to a recording of a meeting reviewed by the Times.

Rookies need mentoring from experienced cops “during that first critical year that they come into the department,” he said.

Patrick J. Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, agreed with Mr. Bratton. “This proposal is consistent with the union’s philosophy of training,” Mr. Lynch said. “It is important to have experienced police officers sharing their knowledge with our newer officers. Using rookies to meet numbered targets under the former system resulted in many of the problems we are now in the process of solving. We prefer to have our members solving problems in our communities and this proposal moves us towards that goal. We look forward to having a dialogue regarding this concept.”

Police spokesman Stephen Davis told the Times that no changes to the program had been made yet. Mr. Bratton is still evaluating the situation, Mr. Davis said.