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Updated: August 25, 2022, 7:08 PM

Revised NYPD rule reminds cops not to chitchat while on the job

By Anthony M. DeStefano

Talk may be cheap, but it could cost NYPD officers some problems, newly revised work rules for officers on the beat state.

Under some new changes made Tuesday to the Patrol Guide -- the bible for how cops should behave while on duty -- officers are being reminded that congregating or engaging in unnecessary conversation while at their posts is prohibited.

Officers should not "congregate or engage in unnecessary conversations with other members of the service while on post, absent police necessity,” reads the directive from New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell.

 The term “police necessity” in not defined but police supervisors are being held “strictly accountable” for enforcing the anti-chatting rules, the police internal memo obtained by Newsday reads.

Asked for a comment on the new Patrol Guide directive, the NYPD released a copy of the interim order without further remarks.

The new measure is not popular with union members.

Police Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch, who heads the union that represents thousands of police officers. said the directive was unnecessary and given the current state of police morale, just another negative aspect of the job.

“Pretty soon there won’t be enough cops left to congregate anywhere in the city, because miserable working conditions and low pay are forcing them to quit in droves,” said Lynch in a statement.

Both Lou Turco, head of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, and Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association, said Thursday that they and other police labor officials had sent a letter to New York City Mayor Eric Adams asking for a meeting about the chit-chat rules and the current crime situation.

Turco told Newsday that the unions wanted to find out what Adams is thinking about the way cops operate on the beat and to confront him about continuing increases in serious felonies, including robberies, which are up nearly 40% this year over 2021. Cops, said Turco, do get together to talk about crime conditions, which he said are putting officers at increased risk.

“We have too many cops who are victims of assault,” Turco said.  “We want to sit down and work collaboratively with the mayor.”

A City Hall spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the union letter.

DiGiacomo told Newsday that the requested meeting is also sought to find out why there is a push to have officers patrolling separately during a time when he said cops are under physical attack. DiGiacomo said it makes more sense for cops to patrol in pairs.

One former NYPD chief said the chit-chat rule is one of long standing but rarely enforced.