Posted on | March 24, 2013 | 4 Comments
The class action lawsuit against NYPD’s criminal stop and frisk policy is under way. Two of the officers testifying in the case, Officers Adhyl Polanco and Pedro Serrano, have indicated that the NYPD has a set quota for how many of these constitutional violations must be carried out per officer per month.
The Department has conducted more than 5 million stops since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, more than 85 percent of which targeted blacks or Latinos and only 12 percent of which resulted in criminal charges. Both Serrano and Polanco testified that supervisors required at least 20 summonses and one arrest each month, and that they were pressured to stop individuals — regardless of the grounds for doing so — under threat of punishment. Polanco also said police later added a stop-and-frisk quota of five per month. – thinkprogress.com Officers Say NYPD Sets Quotas For Stop-And-Frisks And Arrests
I’m sure it’s evident at this point that I don’t condone this practice. Not only is it a violation of an individuals rights but it also is a form or tyranny that leaves residents in a constant state of paranoia. The lack of results and the lopsided number of Black and Latino victims indicates that not only is the practice ineffective but also that there is something more going on. The topic for today, though, are the quotas.
It’s long been a not very well kept secret that police are operating on a quota system. I don’t believe there has ever been any official admission of that fact but everyone is aware that it is happening. NYPD Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly danced around a jury finding in 2006 that quotas were used by saying that the NYPD has “productivity goals” no different than any other job. Herein lies the problem, law enforcement isn’t the same as other jobs.
What NYPD, policy makers, and all other branches of law enforcement need to understand is that protecting and serving the public doesn’t work by setting arrest marks to hit or by shooting for certain citation goals in order to bring in revenue. Capitalistic ideals don’t fit here. Quotas should never be used. They turn police into hunters and the public into prey.
Officer Adhyl Polanco, who was initially responsible for calling attention to the quotas via a series of secret recordings made back in 2009, told the court he’d been required to make five stop-and-frisks a month by union delegates and police supervisors. Polanco, who said fellow cops called him a rat after he went public with the recordings, testified officers often felt pressured to make unconstitutional stops in order to meet those quotas. “We were handcuffing kids for no reason,” he said. “I don’t want my kids to get shot by a cop who’s chasing them to write a ‘250.’” - http://gothamist.com
Hunters. Prey. This is contrary to the cops being so called “Peace officers”. The very existence of arrest and citation quotas corrupts the environment. It also puts people into the system that otherwise wouldn’t or shouldn’t have been. It forces police to not protect citizens but to treat them all as suspects. Anti-bullying campaigns are all the rage these days but here we have a case where bullying is a mandated policy. And it’s not working. These policies have long left the realm of protecting the public and just exist simply to justify budgets by giving the illusion that their tactics are needed. Those without he purse strings are just as much at fault here as well. The more incidences recorded, the deeper the stack of paperwork to use as evidence to ask for more money when budget time comes around. And all this for the low low cost of tainted futures, victimization, dehumanization, tyranny, and rights violations. What a deal. Whatever happened to the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” or the mentality that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer?”
Quotas not only harm the public but do a disservice to the police officers that are held to such a practice. Officers are more effective when there is a symbiotic relationship with the communities and neighborhoods they are supposed to protect. What is it that we tell children? “You can trust the police.” Quotas don’t allow for officers to learn their areas and form relationships with those in their districts. “We’re here to help,” isn’t heard nor believed when it’s communicated as “We’re here to protect the living hell out of you for your own good!” Officers and their superiors need to check that mentality and the ego that’s fed by it. All police departments have some form of community outreach programs but we’re a little suspicious of your sincerity due to the presence of your boot on the collective necks of the community. These practices are fostering and promoting the very attitudes and mentalities that lessen the effectiveness of that outreach.
Law enforcement and public protection isn’t a “bottom line” or “hit the numbers” situation. This isn’t something to be judged by a quarterly earnings report. We’re talking about nurturing communities here not sales of the latest widget.There is an enormous responsibility in keeping the peace in society. Along with that responsibility is an even greater serving of trust on the plate. It’s also dangerous, indisputably dangerous. I don’t believe anyone has ever argued that it wasn’t but it makes it even more so when you are mandated to treat everyone as a combatant in a war zone. There are many ways to execute the “enforcement” part of the law. Get the criminals, please do, but you don’t take out the gunman by shooting the hostage first.