Staten Island Advance
updated October 19, 2015 at 10:19 AM

Editorial on NYPD use-of-force policy was way off base (letter to the editor)

By Patrick J. Lynch
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association

The Staten Island Advance's recent editorial on the NYPD's new use-of-force policy and Inspector General's report on the subject ("The NYPD failed to police its members") was an insult to all New York City police officers, especially those who reside on Staten Island and are — or were — your readers.

There was no evidence in the Inspector General's report to suggest that excessive force is a widespread problem in the NYPD. In fact, the report acknowledged that, out of the tens of thousands of police encounters that occur every year, only a "notably modest number" result in allegations of excessive force, "a positive indication of the NYPD's restraint."

 Your suggestion that police officers should "embrace" the restrictive new use-of-force policies and reporting requirements is truly out of touch with the reality we face on the street. "De-escalation" is not always an option during a fast-moving and possibly dangerous encounter.

In the current climate, police officers know that their split-second decision to use force to protect themselves or gain compliance will almost never be interpreted in their favor. The only sure way for police officers to avoid physical injury without sacrificing their careers will be to avoid engaging in the first place. That is not a "welcome message" for Staten Islanders, for the police officers who protect them, or for any New Yorker who cares about public safety.