New York Daily News

June 1, 2016, 9:46 PM

  

 

NYPD will track incidents of officers using force, encourage cops to de-escalate tensions

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA

GO NAKAMURA/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Cops who use force of any kind — from takedowns to the use of a firearm — will have to document it in a report.

New guidelines will allow the NYPD to better assess how police officers are using force during physical encounters, a top chief said Wednesday.

The rules encourage cops to try to de-escalate tensions, when possible, to avoid using force. And they also require cops to inform on fellow officers who use excessive force — or risk being disciplined.

Several officers, Deputy Chief Kevin Ward said, have already been disciplined for turning a blind eye in incidents captured on video,

Ward acknowledged it will be "difficult" for officers to realize they must report their colleagues.

"This is something that's going to take a long time," said Ward, chief of staff to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. "Officers over time will realize that if other officers act inappropriately and they're there they can be disciplined for failure to report that."

The guidelines took effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday but were first unveiled, in draft form, last October, just as the inspector general for the NYPD issued a report that blasted how the department has handled complaints of excessive force.

The issue had taken on added potency in the wake of the 2014 chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

Another issue to arise from the blockbuster incident, suspects who resist arrest, as Garner did, are also addressed in the new guidelines.

RICHARD HARBUS/POOL
Mayor de Blasio and police Commissioner Bratton watch a demonstration at the new NYPD Police Academy

Ward said police will track closely those who more than once have resisted arrest or assaulted cops, all with an eye on getting prosecutors to push for harsher penalties.

Similarly, officers who use force of all kinds — from takedowns to the use of a firearm — are required to document it in a report.

"These guidelines do not restrict what an officer can do,'' Ward said.

‘What officers can do in the past (they) can do now. This basically documents it.

"It makes us justify our actions — and we're responsible for our actions."

But Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the largest police union, said in a statement that new guidelines leave much to be desired.

"We have many issues with these new procedures,” Lynch said. “But there is no doubt in our minds that this will put both the public and our police officers at greater risk."