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New York Times Room for Debate

 

Judge's Mandates Shouldn't Affect Priorities

August 23, 2013

By Heather Mac Donald

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, has ordered the New York Police Department to cease what she said was racial profiling in its stop, question, and frisk activity. But she has provided little explicit guidance in how to measure compliance.

Figuring out how to respond to crime patterns and community requests for assistance while also satisfying her order is going to be the hardest challenge facing the N.Y.P.D. in the coming years. Since her ruling seems to require that the department’s stop activity match the city's population ratios rather than the incidence of crime, it may well force the agency to stop targeting high crime areas—unless the newly appointed monitor provides some statistical wiggle room.

The redirection of manpower to the decree's inevitable paperwork mandates will create an additional burden on the department.

To compensate for the loss of street staffing to decree compliance, the daily terrorism drills that take several hundred officers out of their precincts to muster at a central location should be discontinued. The hypothetical benefits of the exercise no longer justify the cost.

But the focus on hot spot policing, which deploys officers to the highest crime areas of the city, should continue, even though such targeted enforcement generates data that will count against the department in the judge’s racial profiling tally.

The emphasis on misdemeanor and quality of life enforcement, which has lowered felony crime and thus the state’s prison population, should also continue.

Finally, the department must redouble its efforts to train officers to treat everyone with whom they interact with courtesy and respect, especially people whom they have stopped for questioning.

Original Source: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/08/22/how-the-next-mayor-should-deal-with-crime-in-new-york/judges-mandates-on-profiling-shouldnt-shift-priorities?gwh=B419BB294516392860C640E376C0BECD

 

 
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