Commissioner Bill Bratton was crystal clear to over 800 NYPD executives that abusive cops are “poisoning the well.” He spoke during a one-day retreat on Oct. 2 in Queens.
These remarks were shared with the NYPD leadership before they were shown a disturbing video montage of violence by cops against suspects and innocent community members.
In one part of the video titled “What Would You Do?” an officer is observed brutalizing a handcuffed shoplifting suspect inside a Target store’s holding area. The suspect does nothing but back helplessly into a wall.
In another portion, a plainclothes narcotics officer stomps on a suspect’s head while other officers pin him to the floor. NYPD Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick stated, “I am particularly ashamed of that one.”
One of the most infamous parts of the video depicts a uniformed officer knocking an innocent bicyclist down with a barbaric body-check.
Bratton stated there are “some officers in the department, unfortunately, who should not be here.” He demanded zero tolerance for those who dishonor the NYPD badge through “brutality, corruption, racism, and incompetence.”
NYPD: Rise to the Occasion
The eyes of America and the entire world are focused on police–community issues. Recent tragedies in Ferguson, Cleveland, and Staten Island demand moral leadership and medicinal collaboration.
Police officers who maintain polished shields by dedication as ethical protectors deserve honor. They must be supported by weeding out those who dishonor their noble profession.
Officers who live lives of character, ethics, and leadership deserve the admiration of society and the respect of community, colleagues, and political leaders.
The NYPD must rise to the occasion and work collaboratively with full force resolve to execute the vision of their commissioner.
Bratton must also have cooperation from the community and all elected and appointed officials. His words are a clarion call for renewal: “There are some in this organization who shouldn’t be here. They’re not the right fit [for] the NYPD of 2014. There are a few, very few, in a large organization who just don’t get it. We will separate them out.”
Bratton stated that 99 percent were doing the job the right way. Officers in the NYPD that do not belong must be terminated. This will give the NYPD credibility and protect the communities violated by “brutality, corruption, racism, and incompetence.”
NYPD Deserves World Class Training
Officers who honor the NYPD badge deserve respect and world-class training. As a response to recent concerns, the NYPD will institute a three-day training program for 22,000 field officers.
As a community policing advocate with 20 years of experience on a national level, I applaud the NYPD’s dedication to training. This training must be a model for police departments throughout America.
In my opinion, the training demands participation from experts from numerous disciplines aside form law enforcement and modules including:
- community policing
- cultural awareness and diversity
- character, ethics, leadership
- cross-cultural conflict resolution
- de-escalation tactics
- proper use of force
- problem solving
- constitutional policing
- communication skills
- violence prevention
Critical to the training must be a capstone project follow-up for each officer that leads to certification as well as accreditation of individuals, units, and precincts. Initiatives should also include training for the highest level of the NYPD who must lead by example. There must also be related training opportunities for community members.
Transforming the NYPD
Police–community cooperation is impossible without trust built on character, ethics, and leadership. These qualities are critical not only to the NYPD but also to police departments all over America.
The NYPD must be a catalyst for transformation and play a critical role in reawakening the nation by enhancing police–community cooperation.
Change will happen when toxic police officers are terminated, world-class training initiated, and courtesy, professionalism, and respect are truly the heartbeat of the NYPD.
Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com