PUBLIC SAFETY

The role of government is to keep people safe but more and more, we have seen too many times that police officers have abused the public trust. To store faith and confidence in those sworn to protect and serve, we need to reimagine the role of the police.

As City Council Member, I will:

Reshape the Role of Police Commissioner

  • Currently, the Police Commissioner is chosen by Mayor. I will introduce an amendment to the City Charter to make the Commissioner subject to confirmation by the City Council so that there is real accountability on who leads the police.

  • The Civilian Complaint Review Board only the power to recommend disciplinary actions for officers’ misconduct. The Police Commissioner is free to accept, refuse, or choose their own punishment. The City Council has already passed a home rule message to Albany in support of legislation empowering the CCRB in deciding disciplinary actions for police misconduct. If the State Legislature does not pass the bill this year, I will reintroduce Res. 1538-A and pressure my partners in Albany to take the disciplinary powers away from the Police Commissioner and give that responsibility to the CCRB.

  • Civilian Complaint Review Board because it is an independent body made up of appointees from the City Council, Mayor, and Police Commissioner and are not subjected to political or staff pressures that the others are. 

Reimagine the Police Budget

  • During my time as the City Hall Liasion for the UFT, I negotiated budgets. I know the ins and outs of the budgetary process. I will bring that experience to find the items that can and should be cut from the police budget.

  • At the top of my agenda for looking at the overall police budget is to have the NYPD hire more social workers and psychologists. Many of the times officers are called to a scene, it is for someone having a mental health episode or in the throes of addiction. Those people do not need a person with a gun to help them, they need a person with a compassionate ear.

  • While looking at the overall budget, I will keep an eye out for the crime prevention programs that are working and increase funding for those. The Cure Violence Program, which tries to have people de-escalate disputes before they get violent, has been showing promising results in the precincts it has been used. Provided the data supports it, I will increase funding so the program can continue into other parts of the city.

Use the City Budget to Combat Root Causes of Crime

  • If we really want to stop crime, we need to eliminate its root causes: homelessness, food insecurity, mental health problems, addiction, and racial inequity. In the City Council, I will use the power of the purse to help fix those issues by providing better options.

  • For tackling mental health and addiction, I will make sure that we renovate the ThriveNYC so it will actually provide counseling and treatment options for those seeking help while also providing data so we all can measure its success.

  • The best way to end homelessness is to simply give people homes. By building more low-income housing, we can get people off the streets and into stability.
    We all have biases and the only way we can change our behaviors is if we become conscious of our proclivities. I will use my bully pulpit to expand awareness and usage of implicit bias training programs, like the one developed by Harvard, for city employees and students.

  • In the economic capital of the most powerful nation on Earth, no one should ever go hungry or be ashamed that they cannot afford food. I will provide funding to more neighborhood food pantries like Camp Friendship so everyone will have access to a nutritious meal.

 

Make Policing a Community Conversation

  • There is a push right now to increase the number of officers on the subways and stations but we need to be smart about where patrols happen. Before we do anything, we need to ask the transit workers - who have called for a greater police presence what stations and are our eyes no ears on the ground - trains, and at what times more officers would keep us safe. I will help facilitate those conversations.

  • Many people I talk to do not know about their community precinct councils, which are civilian advisory groups for each police precinct. I will use PSAs, flyers, and social media to promote my constituents joining their local precinct councils so they can be part of the conversation on policing.

  • All police and COMPSTAT data is public record but is hard to find. I will provide links to that data on my City Council website. Additionally, I will work with the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications to enhance the user experience and looking to incorporate other pieces of data from the city’s Open Data Portal so that anyone can spot trends in crime so we can, collectively and proactively, not make the same mistakes.