Chief-Leader
August 10, 2015 4:30 pm

 

Firefighters Gain Disability-Benefit Equalization, Extra Staffing At 20 Engine Cos. As Part of Wage Accord

Newer Members Must Contribute 6% of Salary to Pension

By MARK TOOR

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association criticized the latest proposed new rules on stop-and frisk Aug. 7, saying they will “undoubtedly lead to increased crime.”

What’s Being Considered

The Daily News reported a day earlier that Peter Zimroth, the Federal monitor over the NYPD’s realignment of its stop-and-frisk policy, had submitted a report to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres containing a number of proposed revisions to the Patrol Guide, the department’s procedure manual.

The changes included:

  • “The uniformed member of the service must have an objective credible reason to approach the civilian,” meaning “more than hunch or a whim…This type of encounter does not require any suspicion of criminal activity. The objective is to gather information.”

  • “Members of the public are not required to possess IDs or present them to police officers when requested…refusing to produce an ID alone will not elevate the level of the encounter...Refusal to answer questions and/or walking or running away does not escalate the encounter.”

  • The encounter should escalate to a stop-and-frisk “only when a police officer has an individualized reasonable suspicion that the person stopped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or a penal-law misdemeanor.”

  • Even with reasonable suspicion, the officers cannot search the subject without his consent. Frisks are authorized only “when the member of the service reasonably suspects the person is armed and dangerous.”

  • If a stop is not fruitful, officers should “provide the person stopped with an explanation for the encounter in plain language, rather than citing penal laws. And they should “offer the person stopped a ‘WHAT IS A STOP?’ tear-off information card.”

  • “Nothing in this section is intended to deter an officer from initiating appropriate inquiries and investigative encounters, including stops, or using any lawful and appropriate tactics to ensure the officer's safety during such investigative encounters. Moreover, this procedure should not be interpreted to discourage an officer from engaging in voluntary consensual conversation with members of the public.”

Codifies the Law

Most of this language echoes the U.S. Supreme Court decision setting guidelines for stop-and-frisks. U.S. District Judge Shira A. Scheind­lin found in 2013 that the NYPD’s aggressive stop-and-frisk program was violating them and named Mr. Zimroth to oversee chan­ges in procedures, training, supervision and discipline to bring the program into compliance.

But PBA President Patrick Lynch expressed unhappiness with the proposed changes.

“When coupled with the other so-called progressive reforms, these new documentation and oversight measures will deter the use of stop-and-frisk, a valuable law-enforcement tool, jeopardizing the safety of the public and police officers alike, further stretching the understaffed and overburdened workforce, and leaving fewer officers to respond to crimes and calls for service,” he said in a statement.

“The sum of these measures will ensure the demise of proactive policing in this city and undoubtedly lead to increased crime.”

Is It Enough?

However, Jenn Borcheta, a lawyer for the plaintiffs who brought the case that resulted in Judge Scheindlin’s ruling, said the stop-and-frisk information cards needed to contain more data.

In a letter to Judge Torres, she wrote that the plaintiffs want “a meaningful stop receipt that, at a minimum, ensures each person stopped receives accurate information identifying the officer who initiated the encounter, that officer’s purported justification for the stop, and information about filing a complaint.”

They also want “a means of documenting street encounters that officers believe or claim constitute a request for information.”

If Judge Torres approves the changes, they’ll take effect Sept. 21.