New York Daily News

March 26, 2015, 2:30 AM



EXCLUSIVE: NYPD disciplinary process for bad behaving cops revamping, shifting power to precinct commanders


The NYPD's disciplinary process for bad behaving cops is being revamped to shift punishment power to precinct commanders for lower level offenses, the Daily News has learned.

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton wants the department's Internal Affairs Bureau to mainly tackle major corruption cases. Currently, all charges against cops are investigated by the bureau.

That has stretched resources thin at the investigatory unit and bogged down some disciplinary cases for years.

"It's definitely a good move to try to streamline and outsource it to the precinct commanders," said Joseph Pollini, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Former police commissioner Ray Kelly had department's internal affairs unit tackle low level offenses, like hunting down cops using bogus parking placards, the retired police captain added.

Precinct bosses have a range of so-called "command discipline" punishments they can mete out to officers slacking off. That includes a public admonishment and docking up to 10 vacation days.

As for more serious offenses, Bratton and department brass have the power to suspend officers without pay for 30 days. Civil service laws kick in afterwards and requires the department to put the officers back to work with complete pay.

But those cops are typically placed on modified duty without their badges and guns until their criminal cases are resolved.

As part of disciplinary system facelift, Bratton has already reduced the number of cops on modified duty by 29% from a peak high five years ago, records obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request show.

There are now approximately 260 mothballed cops without guns or badges, records show.

The number of "rubber-gun squad" officers has dropped in part due to the NYPD's modification suspension review board clearing cases faster, department insiders said.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association hailed the disciplinary changes, saying they would “go a long way to improving the morale of police officers.”