New York Daily News

April 21, 2015, 10:01 AM

  

 

NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure calls for upgrade of cop performance reviews, recommends data-driven approach  

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, GREG B. SMITH

   
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS  

A New York Daily News cover story on Feb. 16, 2014 highlighted the NYPD's most-sued officers.

 

Police officers may soon be getting a report card — the NYPD’s inspector general Tuesday called for a new and improved data-driven performance review for cops.

Philip Eure released a report calling for the NYPD to upgrade its method of grading cops, starting with how it looks at the number and substance of misconduct suits filed against individual officers.

In the last five fiscal years, 15,000 lawsuits have been filed against the NYPD, costing taxpayers $202 million in jury verdicts and settlements.

Eure urged Police Commissioner Bill Bratton to adopt a high-tech “Early Intervention System” that would “identify at-risk officers who may be in need of enhanced training or monitoring.”

The IG noted 16 police agencies nationwide are using lawsuit data to judge cops, including the Los Angeles sheriff’s department, where use-of-force incidents dropped from seven per month to one per month when officers were placed on review.

NYPD officials said they were examining the report, while Mayor de Blasio’s spokeswoman, Monica Klein, said the department is already improving its performance review methods.

“We look forward to reviewing the inspector general’s recommendations on how we can keep building upon NYPD’s current efforts to strengthen police-community relations through effective data analysis,” Klein said.

JULIA XANTHOS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Philip Eure, the NYPD's Inspector General, has called for the department to significantly upgrade its review of police officer performance, and to incorporate a wide range of data to better accomplish the task. 

Police union officials universally ridiculed the relevance of using lawsuits to measure performance.

“Given that many, if not most, of the lawsuits filed against New York City police officers are baseless, frivolous and only filed to make a quick buck, we don’t see where there is any validity to using them in evaluating the actions of individual officers,” declared Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

The department started monitoring lawsuits last fall after the Daily News reported on the most-sued cops, including Detective Peter Valentin, whose 28 lawsuits have triggered $884,000 in taxpayer payouts.

Last month, the NYPD formed a risk management bureau to look for patterns of misconduct, and began coordinating with the Law Department and the controller to better track suits filed against officers.

DAVID WEXLER FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Detective Peter Valentin (top) and (from left) Detective Vincent Orsini, Sgt. Fritz Glemaud and Det. Warren Rohan were among the 55 NYPD cops who had been sued at least 10 times over the past decade, according to a Daily News story published in 2014.

But Eure found gaps in the data and coordination failures he said kept the NYPD from getting a full picture of a cop’s performance.

“Various agencies with responsibility for different aspects of this litigation are not tracking the data from these cases in the most effective way possible,” the report stated.

The current system does not register how many cases “resulted in legitimate findings of excessive force, despite the obvious value of such information,” the report stated.

The NYPD, he noted, “was often unaware of the ultimate settlement or resolution of prelitigation claims filed against the department and individual officers.”

DAVID WEXLER FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Three friends (L to R) Tyrone Shields, Gary Castillo and Marcel Grant sued Bronx narcotics cops for injuries they said were sustained while they were in police custody.

And the Law Department gives the NYPD only “limited information about police-related litigation.” The NYPD can search lawsuits only by the name of a plaintiff and a docket number — not by the name of the defendant officer.

The Law Department sends monthly litigation reports to the NYPD, but the reports “still do not include certain details about the nature of the claims” and have to be manually entered into the NYPD’s system.

Under the current model, if an officer is sued three or more times within a year or six times within five years, they go on what’s called the “level two monitoring” list.

But an officer’s immediate supervisor “is not made aware that an officer is deemed to be ‘at risk’ and is under performance monitoring unless the supervisor manually searches the ... system for that officer.”

In Eure’s plan, cops would be graded based on a series of “performance indicators,” including the number and type of suits; the number and type of use-of-force incidents; the number of arrests made and/or tickets issued; commendations and awards, and line-of-duty injuries.”

The new system would “quickly identify officers who are in need of intervention while providing the department with global data regarding the performance of its law enforcement professionals.”

gsmith@nydailynews.com