Precision Policing: Respecting Our Citizens’ Dignity

August 18, 2016 5:42 pm Last Updated: August 18, 2016 5:42 pm

Prior to his forthcoming retirement from the NYPD, Commissioner Bill Bratton deserves a commendation for enhancing community policing.

This enhancement includes improved training for officers, better patrol strategies emphasizing a positive interaction with the public, and sharpening officer’s problem-solving skills.

Bratton recently memorialized his philosophy with these words, “We want to develop well-rounded, highly skilled police officers, not arrest machines.”

The NYPD commissioner also emphasizes the positive results of “precision policing,” a contradiction to the stop, question, and frisk controversy.

The heart of the stop, question, and frisk controversy, according to Bratton, was a period of 700,000 stops with an arrest rate less than one-in-ten.

Police, according to Bratton, became imprecise in exercising their powers with stop, question, and frisk, and cast a net that was too wide.

Sir Robert Peel is regarded as the father of the modern British police. (Henry William Pickersgill, Public Domain)
Sir Robert Peel is regarded as the father of the modern British police. (Henry William Pickersgill, Public Domain)

Policing Principles: Peel’s, America’s

On May 23, 2016, Bratton stressed the principles of policing by Sir Robert Peel to the New York City Council Public Safety and Finance Committee.

Peel’s policing principles, are completed by my “Principles of American Policing,” authored for the May 1, 2015 edition of the Epoch Times.

The timeless principles of Peel are the foundation for these contemporary American policing principles, highlighting police-community collaboration; built on trust, training, ethics, and leadership.

Department of Justice Report: Baltimore Police

The “precision policing” improvements being made with the NYPD provides lessons for police departments nationwide.

On Aug. 10, 2016 the Department of Justice (DOJ) released its report titled “Investigation of the Baltimore Police Department.”

The DOJ report concludes that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution or federal law.

 The pattern or practice includes:

  1. making unconstitutional stops, searches, and arrests
  2. using enforcement strategies that produce severe and unjustified disparities in the rates of stops, searches, and arrests of African Americans
  3. using excessive force
  4. retaliating against people engaging in constitutionally-protected expression.

The DOJ report also identifies concerns regarding the BPD’s transport of individuals and investigation of sexual assaults. BPD’s failings result from deficiencies with policies, training, oversight, and accountability, and policing strategies that do not engage effectively with the community the Department serves.

This report also details systemic violations of constitutional policing with the BPD routinely stopping, searching, and even arresting the city’s black residents without provocation. These practices destroy trust, critical to the bond between the police and the people.

One example in this scathing report on the BPD clearly highlights systemic deficiencies. In a recent four year period, roughly 44 percent of 111,500 police stops occurred in two small predominately African-American communities that account for about 11 percent of the city’s population.

But these stops are diametrically opposed to the philosophy of “precision policing” as only 3.7 percent of these stops led to a citation or arrest.

Another example in the report details that interviews of police involved with shootings tend to be “conclusory and superficial, often lasting no longer than ten or fifteen minutes, with some ending after only five minutes.”

Also, the report describes incompetence, unprofessionalism, and despicable interview tactics of BPD detectives handling women reporting sexual abuse. They respond to the victims with questions such as “Why are you messing that guy’s life up?”

NYPD: The Five T’s

The pillars of the NYPD “precision policing” philosophy fully complements the policing principles of Sir Robert Peel as well as the “Principles of American Policing.”

These five T’s are cited on the NYPD website as trust, training, technology, taking on terror, and tackling crime, which are understood as follows:

Trust—focusing on collaborative policing which involves partnering with other city agencies, non-profits, community-based organizations, the faith-based community, and others on public safety issues.

Training—includes numerous educational initiatives to develop a more service-oriented mindset and give officers tactical tools to deescalate tense situations.

Technology—igniting a major transformative technological change to make the NYPD the most advanced in the United States.

Terrorism—includes the Strategic Response Group (SRG), comprised of over 800 personnel with missions including disorder response, crime suppression, and mobilizations.

Tackling Crime—last year alone, NYPD Field Intelligence took 998 guns off the streets by debriefing arrestees and obtaining court-approved search warrants.

Final Reflections

As witnessed with controversies, tensions, and problems throughout America, there is a clarion call to enhance police-community relations.

America must rise to the occasion and ignite a 21st century policing mindset that is built on the pillars of trust, ethics, transparency, and accountability.

When our nation dedicates itself to enhancing police-community partnerships, and is inspired by the qualities of leadership, vigilance, and collaboration, we will be on the path to reawakening the nation.

Vincent J. Bove
Vincent J. Bove

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

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"Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times."