October 19, 2015 5:30 pm


PBA Criticizes CCRB For Skipping Good News


PATRICK LYNCH: Agency buried the good news.  

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch issued another broadside last week at one of his favorite targets, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, saying it had failed to emphasize that complaints filed against officers were down.

“Once again the CCRB has tipped its hand as an organization hell-bent on doing nothing more than justifying its own existence by failing to highlight the 19-percent reduction of allegations against police officers in their press release,” he said in a statement. “They are part of a political apparatus that has been systematically denigrating the reputation of a fine police department and its officers, and that must stop.”

A Waste of Money?

“The bottom line is that the small number of complaints generated by tens of thousands of police interactions each month makes us think that the money spent on CCRB is wasted and would be better spent on hiring more police officers,” he continued.

“Furthermore, their recommendations to use body cameras on those conducting home entries and for surveillance of police facilities goes well beyond the CCRB’s charter authority to serve as an ‘impartial’ investigative body, a role it has never fulfilled in the first place.”

Mr. Lynch was referring to a CCRB press release issued Oct. 14 on the day of its monthly public board meeting. The first paragraph said the agency was announcing its highest-ever substantiation rate—the percentage of misconduct complaints it found to be justified. That rate, for September, was 29 percent.

The release also described two evidence-gathering proposals on which the CCRB board was scheduled to vote that night. Both were approved.

One recommended that officers participating in a home entry be required to wear body cameras, noting that 23 percent of complaints of improper entries or searches did not have enough evidence for the board to determine wheth­er police activities were improper. Video would reduce the number of such cases, the agency said.

The second proposed that the Police Department install surveillance cameras in police facilities where people go to file crime or misconduct complaints or where prisoners are taken. Eight percent of CCRB complaints dealt with occurrences at police stations.

‘It’s Good for Cops’

CCRB Chair Richard Emery responded to Mr. Lynch, “I am surprised that the PBA does not avidly embrace the measures recommended by the board at Wednesday’s meeting. These measures will benefit officers as much as the public by securing accurate evidence when allegations of misconduct are made. Better evidence means improved justice for all. Certainly the CCRB seeks that result. We hope the PBA does as well.

“We have noted the declining number of complaints at every public board meeting since July. Plus, when we issued our 2015 semi-annual report last month, the complaint drop was in the headline of the news release. The PBA should appreciate the transparency, impartiality and accountability associated with our public release of statistics and trends, wheth­er they are favorable to the Police Department or not.”

Police unions, particularly the PBA, have been critical of the CCRB since it was created in 1993. They contend that the board is biased against cops and are particularly annoyed that promotions and other career moves are put on hold during CCRB investigations that in some cases have dragged on for years.

Mr. Emery, who was appointed Chair in July 2014 by Mayor de Blasio, has worked to reduce the length of investigations and improve often-strained relations with the NYPD.