NYPD Rolls Out New Tracking System… On Itself

New York, New York (LWMC) – New York Police adopts Recommendations to include “core allegations” and better information contained in lawsuits and complaints to better identify police performance and .

NYPD Image Source: Enrique Dans, Flickr, Creative Commons

Image Source: Enrique Dans, Flickr, Creative Commons

This past April the inspector general of the New York Police Department, Philip K. Eure, issued a report recommending the track data from lawsuits and complaints filed against officers to improve officer performance and identify trends of police misconduct. In the report it states:

“Over the past decade, legal claims and civil lawsuits against the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have been increasing in number. According to NYPD, in the past five fiscal years alone, the City has seen more than 15,000 lawsuits filed against NYPD, a 44% increase in total number, that in sum have cost the City over $202 million. These cases result in a substantial financial burden on New York City taxpayers. The City’s response has ranged from removing the most-sued officers from the streets to allocating new and greater resources to the attorneys who must defend these lawsuits. The Mayor recently announced that the New York City Law Department would receive an additional $4.5 million to hire 30 new attorneys and 10 new paralegals to defend the City against such lawsuits. While parties may differ on what has caused this high volume of lawsuits, the byproduct has been a large quantity of lawsuit and claims data which, if used correctly, can assist NYPD and the City with taking necessary corrective action. However, various agencies with responsibility for different aspects of this litigation are not tracking the data from these cases in the most effective way possible. This Report discusses the necessary steps needed for the efficient collection and use of this data.”

The report outlined three basic ways the NYPD can better gather and use properly obtained to improve policing, community relations, accountability and identifying problem officers and policy.

In adopting the procedures in the report the country’s largest city police department becomes the first police agency to take a “systemic look at that, not just officer by officer, and not just for purposes of discipline, but to also look for patterns,” Lawrence Byrne, deputy commissioner for legal matters, was quoted by the AP recently.

The information will be gathered by the city’s comptroller’s office, Civilian Complaint Review Board police watchdog group and the New York City Law Department.  Internal data includes traffic accidents and internal affairs investigations.

This new policy is a unique collaborative approach as the NYPD continues to work on its policing performance, accountability and image in the wake of a Federal Lawsuit, a serious increase in complaints of misconduct as discussed in the April IG report and the Eric Garner death while in police custody.

Not everyone applauded the new policy.  The head of NYPD largest police union, Patrick Lynch, complained that all this did was increase oversight.  Complaining that using data that comes from arrestee and lawsuits filed for a quick buck are not meaningful sources for evaluating police performance.

Another important aspect of this new approach is the NYPD believes it will create more credible information to fight lawsuits.  Of the $773 million awarded by New York City in the past five years almost half were settled for amounts of $250,000.00 or less.  Many officers named in lawsuits are never even notified let alone interviewed about the allegations against them. Apparently this new information gathering will allow the city to better defend against lawsuits and complaints.

“We’re looking to have more of these cases challenged,” Byrne told the Associated Press. “Where the cases have merit they should be settled and settled fairly, but not just because a complaint is filed and we have to get rid of it.”

has been an advocate on better data approaches in his career.  Information gathering, though not as elaborate, was created under his command in Los Angeles.  It is expected for the system to be up and running to its fullest potential by the end of this month.

We will be sure to keep an eye out for those reports.

Written by Bobby Rodrigo for “I take liberty with my coffee.”