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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Bratton Unveil New, Groundbreaking Neighborhood Policing Vision

June 26, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you, brother. Well, thank you so much, Marty.

Marty, you noted something very powerful that we should all take stock of for a moment. As you said, your experience in this community – crime down 95 percent from when you started – that’s an amazing statement that all New Yorkers should be every proud of.

A lot of people in this community contributed to that progress. Marty, you did for sure. This organization did. I heard a wonderful story earlier about, not just one, but a number of young people who got involved with this organization as youth and became so invested in the future of their community, they later chose to become police officers. And that is an amazing, amazing reality.

[Applause]

How many? 20? And how many are here? You had said about 20 of them? You said 20 young people that became –

[…]

Mayor: That’s extraordinary. That’s extraordinary. So, I want to thank you, Marty, from the beginning because your commitment and this organization’s commitment – what it’s meant for the safety of your community, what it’s meant for helping some of the most committed young people from this community join the force and contribute to our ever-growing safety. That’s an amazing story unto itself.

Now, success has many fathers and mothers. We know this. And we should always remember, in the 20-plus years of growing safety in this city, the crucial role that community organizations have played, clergy have played, block associations, tenant patrols – they’ve all played a big role. And many leaders have contributed – most importantly, the men and women of the NYPD every day.

But I also – I’ll call up the commissioner in just a few minutes – but I also want to say, you mentioned that 95 percent over the time you’ve been here, Marty – well, a lot of the credit goes to this man, because he started the ball rolling in a profound way. And I think it is a very gratifying moment – for the work that you started, Commissioner, in your first tour of duty, to now come to the next level. And that’s what’s so exciting about this announcement. We are taking policing to the next level in this city, both in terms of deepening our safety and creating a true partnership between police and community.

Let’s be clear – that partnership has not been there in enough places. The thing we aspire to – that deep sense of mutual mission – shared mission – between police and community – it is something we’ve seen in many instances and in many parts of the city, but we want to see it everywhere all the time, because we need it for our future. And it can be done. And this vision is the pathway to that kind of deep and consistent partnership. I have such faith that we’re starting on the road that, honestly, for years and years people have sought, but haven’t been able quite to reach.

This commitment that you’ll hear about today to true neighborhood policing is truly transformative. It is a step in a direction of a sustainable model of police and community bonded together – a place we have never been in this kind of consistent way.

I’ve heard the stories. I bet everyone in the room either heard the stories or experienced yourself the traditional form of neighborhood policing – the cop who really knew the community, and the community knew him – and all the good that came out of that relationship.

But over the years, all the policing models changed and we moved away from some of that reality. Well, this is the best sense of the notion of coming full circle. This is a modern, advanced, sophisticated approach to neighborhood policing. That’s going to mean the cop on the beat knows community leaders, knows the clergy, knows the rhythms of the community, the needs of the community, where the problems are. And the community is going to know that officer. And they’re each going to feel a tremendous sense of connection and that they’re in it together. And that is extraordinarily exciting – exciting all around. 

This plan – “One City, Safe and Fair Everywhere.” The name says so much – one city. One city united. One city with a shared goal – safety and fairness walking hand in hand. It really stems from the central idea that we owe it to our communities to keep them safe and we owe it to our officers to keep them safe. And the two ideas unite when police and community are working together. That is the best guarantor of the safety of our neighborhoods and our officers. I want to flesh this out a little, but before I do, I want to just talk about the folks who are standing here with us. Again, some you will hear from in just a moment, including the commissioner.

But I want to thank First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Information and Technology Jessica Tisch, Deputy Commissioner for Management and Budget Vincent Grippo, the Chief from Community Affairs, Joanne Jaffe, Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce, Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez. And I want to thank the precinct commander here in the 3-4, Deputy Inspector Chris Morello. I want to thank our elected officials, of course – Borough President Gale Brewer. And a special thank you to the two council members who are here with us. You know, the City Council pushed very hard, not just to increase the number of our police force, but to make sure it was based on a neighborhood policing model and the kind of reforms that the Council has been calling for for quite a while. So I want to thank the Chair of the Council Public Safety Committee, Vanessa Gibson. And I want to thank the Council Member for this district, Ydanis Rodriguez. And I think all New Yorkers really need to say thank you to the New York City Council for helping them make this a reality. Let’s give them a round of applause.

[Applause]

So, I’ll be quick here. We – all of us have done something extraordinary – bringing crime down to the level it’s at now. That work is going to continue. And I think that work can deepen. I think there’s new frontiers that we still haven’t seen that we can reach. I think part of it is understanding that the best change, the best reform, happens at the grassroots. So instead of a top-down approach – where everything started when there was a problem, when there was a call, with a crisis and an officer was sent out to deal with that crisis – we are now doing a bottom-up approach, where the officer knows the community, the community knows the officer. We stop the problem in many cases before it even happens. 

It’s neighborhood policing. It’s preventative policing. And it means that more and more, the people of this city will be encouraged to connect with police officers, to talk to them, to share information with them, to raise concerns to them. 

It’s going to help the officers to do their job better. And so many officers want to deepen their connection to the community because they came to this work to help people, to make their lives better, to make their lives safer. And having that relationship to the community, knowing the information they need, getting the tips, getting the insights, getting that early warning of where a problem may be developing – that is manna from heaven for a police officer. And this model will allow that to happen on a regular basis. It will allow real relationships to develop, real trust to develop.

Think about it – you see the same officer day in and day out – the same officer on the same beat in the same sector. That’s going to develop a very different kind of reality and a deeper kind of trust. 

And then problems will be stopped before they start. And we have already some promising examples here from the 3-4, just over the last month or so.

We’ve seen crime going down as this model has been piloted. We’ve seen shootings down, robberies down, assaults down – because that constant vigilance, that constant dialogue is helping officers to do their job better all the time. 

Commissioner Bratton brought to my attention and my team’s attention and to the members of the City Council the examples – a couple of great officers from this precinct – one, Detective Tommy Troppman, who is present here today – where are you, detective?

[Applause]

Detective, you may have heard that phrase, that classic phrase, “To know me is to love me.” Well, that’s true about you – to know you is to love you. You are a hell of a guy, and – how many years?

Detective Thomas Troppman: 28 – 28 years. 

[Applause]

Mayor: So, let me give you a real life example, and there’s the proof of it standing right there on the wall. There was an incident in these last few weeks. Detective Troppman was called to it, and there was an assault and the attacker fled. So here it starts, in a sense, in a traditional manner –there’s a call and the detective responded to the call. 

Well, one of the bystanders at that incident had already gotten to know the detective and felt comfortable talking to him – came to him, went up to him after, sought him out, and told the detective everything he had seen. He identified the attacker and exactly where he believed the attacker to be. That led to the attacker’s arrest. 

Now, that alone shows the promise of this vision, because that relationship and that trust led to communication – led to not just a tip, but an arrest of someone who had committed an assault. That would be a good story if that’s where it ended, but that was not the end of the story. 

Because Detective Troppman takes this to the next level, and has the kind of connection to the community, he went and had a conversation with the assailant’s mother. He went to seek out the family of the young man who committed the crime. And the mother admitted that she knew her son had a drug problem. And she knew the drug problem was what was causing some of his criminal acts, and she didn’t know what to do. 

And imagine – if you were that mother and you had a situation in your home, and you saw your son going down the wrong path, and you saw the damage he was doing to others, but you didn’t know how to get him help. The detective worked with her to get her connected to the kind of counseling and drug treatment resources that could actually turn her son’s life around. That’s going to take work. That doesn’t happen overnight. But I believe that when a young man like that gets the treatment and comes clean, those are crimes that are never going to happen, because the young man was turned toward the right path. 

All that because of one – one member of the NYPD who went the extra mile. And I think there’s going to be a lot more of that under this vision. Let’s thank the detective for all he does. 

[Applause]

I’ll finish with some Spanish in moment. 

I’ll simply say this, by way of English conclusion – and the commissioner, obviously, is going to talk about – and the chief – Chief O’Neill is going to talk about some of the strategic meaning and operational reality of this vision – but what I love about it is, all the things that we’re talking about here are going to help this department become stronger in so many ways. It’s going to touch every part of what the NYPD does. Obviously, everyone knows the commitment to technology that’s already begun. And we’ll deepen the commitment to training that’s begun. And we’ll deepen the commitment to fighting terrorism – that now is deepened with the creation of a 358-member unit specifically focused on the use of our Critical Response Vehicles, with a higher level of training, with the appropriate equipment for any situation that may be thrown at us, and, in the process, relieving our precincts of the need to keep donating cars and members of the precinct squad to anti-terror activity.

This is going to help us do a lot of things simultaneously. This plan touches every precinct – touches the whole NYPD in one way or another. And I think it’s going to help us not only stay the safest big city in the country, but continue on our pathway to even greater safety and even greater unity between police and community. 

In Spanish –

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, as I said a moment ago, the man who started us on this path and now is going to take us to a brand new place, a better place, and the next level of policing. I’m not going to overly flatter you by calling you the best police leader in America again – but it’s true. Ladies and gentleman, Commissioner Bill Bratton.

[Applause]

[…]

Mayor: All right, we’re going to do on-topic first, and then we will go to off-topic. Starting with on-topic. On-topic. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, so, outside of the counterterrorism unit – and this may be for the commissioner as well – this is kind of a back to the future thing, right? So you’re – you’re going back to the basics of beat cops and cops [inaudible]?

Commissioner William Bratton, NYPD: 1829.

Mayor: Mhm.

Commissioner Bratton: Sir Robert Peale. 

Mayor: Why don’t – why don’t you jump in? It was a good start. 

[Laughter]

Commissioner Bratton: Exactly. And taking advantage of 2015. 1829, the nine principles – you hear me talk about them all the time. The basic mission for which we, the police, exist, is to prevent – not measure our success by response – but to prevent crime and disorder. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, we didn’t do a very good job preventing crime, and we paid no attention to disorder – and we saw what the city looked like in 1990. So this is effectively back to the future –everything old is new again. And the idea of cops in a community – who are known to the community, who care about that community – and what Jimmy O’Neill and Chief Gomez have designed is a plan that would give a lot of those cops time away from the radio to work on crime issues, to work on other issues. Community policing – something I’ve embraced for many years – this is neighborhood policing. This is more intimate – neighborhood by neighborhood. Partnership – police and community working to identify what are the problems and priorities that need to be addressed to ensure safety and quality of life, with a focus on the prevention of those problems, rather than just responding to them, as we’ve done for so many years. It’s also about decentralization. Jimmy wants every one of his precinct commanders and every one of these NCO’s and every one of those sector car officers to have ownership – to have pride of ownership, to have pride of authorship in creating the resolutions they identified for problems. And it’s about transparency. Transparency – and as much as this plan of action will be available to – this afternoon, I’m sending out a message to all 35,000 of my cops, all of whom now have email addresses, as to how to get up on this site and see this plan. The public can go see it. It’s all about transparency. And our CompStat system is increasingly transparent. So this is 2015 – a plan for this century, but it is very much informed by 1829. 

Question: This plan is called “One City, Safe and Fair, Everywhere,” yet the press release says that this is going to be expanded to additional precincts, not all precincts. So a couple questions – in how many precincts will this be implemented? When is that happening? Are you guys going to expand it to all precincts eventually? And will there be an increase [inaudible] on Staten Island included in this strategy?

Mayor: You are consistent. Before the commissioner or the chief get into detail, as I said earlier, this plan affects the entire city. It changes the philosophy. It changes the way we train. It means, for every precinct, benefits in terms of staffing level, as we said, because, for example, the anti-terrorism unit will not require officers and cars to be pulled out of precincts. Every precinct will benefit. And obviously, it’s flexible in that the approach can be applied where the need is greatest. So I think it’s important for people to realize this is going to have a helpful impact on the whole city, and it’s certainly going to allow us to pinpoint where the need is greatest and have a very strong impact on reducing crime. 

Why don’t you speak to the mechanics? 

Commissioner Bratton: Let me just expand on that – the five T’s. The terrorism initiative – whole city. Training initiative – every police officer, whole city. Technology – whole city. Trust – whole city. Tactical initiatives on crime – whole city. Staffing – in a week, I graduate a class of 800 to 900 officers. Every precinct in the city will be getting officers from that new class coming out. As the mayor mentioned, by having the new terrorism unit as a standalone unit instead of every day and every night pulling a car out of every precinct in this city, every precinct in the city gains that extra car on those tours of duty. So the whole city is benefitting from this plan. Some areas of prioritization – the pilot program, certainly. And over time, as we acquire these new officers – high-crime areas initially – but over time, as we reduce crime, throughout the city – throughout the city, we will be able to take this initiative throughout the city. We will graduate a class of 1,200 – we’ll be hiring a class of 1,200 in July. We’ll hire another 400 in October. And then every three months after that, we’ll be hiring 400. So by July 1 of next year, all of the officers promised in this plan will be graduating and out in the field. We are going to go to a quarterly system of training. We did have two classes year – we’re going to go to quarterly classes, four times a year, so we can reduce the size of them – so we can have much more intimate training for these new officers. And every officer coming out of the Academy – this class is going to be assigned to a field training officer. They’re not going to impact zones. They’re going into precincts where they get to know the community, where they get to work with seasoned officers who will mentor them and train them – a totally new concept for this city, but, again, it goes back many years to what we used to do.

Question: So actually, I – I don’t think that quite answers that question [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: You’ve been asking this question for a week. We’ve answered as much as we’re going to answer it. Sorry. 

Question: So you’re not going to say which precincts [inaudible] –

Mayor: Again, that’s in development. Again, let’s just be clear, before I go on to the next question, this is a brand new plan and they’re going to determine which precincts get served in which order according to need. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, I’m wondering what the takeaway or the message you want New Yorkers to have, having seen this whole new approach to policing? What’s your message to them? What do you want them to believe in?

Mayor: Neighborhood policing – it’s the cop on the beat again. It’s neighborhood cops knowing their community, getting to know community residents, getting to know block associations. It’s people at the neighborhood level knowing they can walk up to a police officer, let them know what’s going on, share a tip with them, tell them what they need. And I think this is something that is back to the future, on one level. It really is making this about the human scale again, where the police officer is the person you should confide in, because they’re there to protect you – and building that trust, that very natural trust. What I think is going to happen in everyday life, in the precincts that experience this new approach, is you’re going to see the officer in your neighborhood a lot, and you’re going to get to know him, and that’s going to be a good thing for this city. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I’ll let the experts speak to the best way to manage the situation, but I want to say this – I don’t think the mistakes of the past, or the problems of the past, should paralyze us from moving into the future. Right now, we know – and I think the survey that Chief O’Neill went over, makes it abundantly clear – we’ve got to build real trust between police and community. We have to do it for everyone’s benefit. And that’s only going to work with human relationships. It’s true in all parts of life. You get to know someone on the human level. You get to respect them. You get to understand them. You get trust them. That has to happen. When you do that right, a lot of the tensions, a lot of the challenges, we’re going to move past. But we’re also going to get safer. That’s the exciting part of this. It does two things at once. It’s going to make us safer. So, of course there’s going to be all sorts of challenges, but I am convinced this is a – this is a plan that’s going to yield a great impact. Commissioner, do you want to?

Commissioner Bratton: In the strategies I introduced you from 1994, one of them was police corruption. Because in 1994, there was a major problem, as the Moreland Commission clearly indicated. We addressed it. And the good news going forward, we have continued to address it, so that it is no longer the significant problem it was in ’94. And the major [inaudible] problem was in the 1970s, when Pat Murphy, the commissioner at that time, had to address it. We still have, unfortunately, some corruption. We still have some brutal officers. We do. But I’ve also got a great internal affairs bureau, heading up by one of our best investigators, Deputy Commissioner Joe Reznick. And I’m very comfortable that we’re on top of that. I’m very comfortable that we don’t have systemic corruption in the department. And in this day and age, I’m not overly concerned that the bad old days are going to come back relative to that. I have trust in my officers that they can go into communities, work with communities, and not be corrupted by them. That – that’s a confidence and pride. One addition before I step away and the mayor goes back to questions – there are two documents that will be available to the media and some of the community members who are here that support the website that is going live now. And this is a – one that [inaudible] out the five T’s that we talk about and then there’s an expansion on the five T’s, and a lot more information about neighborhood policing.  So these two, I think, will help you as you work your way, also, through the web plan of action.

Question: [Inaudible] African-American officers. I was wondering you could lay out some specifics on what you’ve done so far, since taking office [inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, let me speak to my vision of that and then let, of course, the commissioner and anyone else from PD speak to the measures they’re taking. I think this has to be understood as a chicken and egg reality. We need to keep building trust between police and community and at the same time, that will encourage particularly a lot of young people of color to join the NYPD and to feel that it’s the right choice for them. So, part of this is resolving some of the problems of the past to open the door to more and more people understanding what a great career this would be for them, and what a great way to serve the city. What I believe in, and we’ve been starting on, is deeply involving elected officials, clergy, community leaders of all kinds. I think, in the past, government has made the mistake of attempting to reach communities in a very narrow way. The best way to reach communities is, again, at the grassroots level, through the leaders who are known and trusted and respected. When someone in the community level hears their priest, their minister, say this is the right thing to do, we need you to do this, we believe you can do this – when someone on your block says, look, there’s an exam, you should take the exam and join the NYPD – it resonates. And when family members – more than anybody – when family members say, this is the right job for you and this is something we believe in – it helps so much. So I think, we’re not only going to improve how we recruit and who joins us in the recruitment, we’re also going to change the whole backdrop. Do you want to?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: I think, again, it’s – when I say chicken and egg, I think some of it we can do right now with better approaches to recruiting and working better with community leaders and members. I think the other piece of the equation is, by changing the overall atmosphere, more and more people will think – hey, this is a job I want to be a part of. Do you want to speak to –

First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, NYPD: Sure. So, the mayor got it right. We’re doing a variety of things as we started to look at our recruitment process. And if I’m not mistaken, Pervaiz Shallwani from the Journal did a piece earlier today that speaks to that issue. And I’ll talk a little bit more about what we’re doing. But the process – and this is a larger issue beyond just the fall off in the African-American males that we’ve been trying to entice to come into the job. And so we’re working on that as well, and I’ll speak to that in a moment. But we also have to fix the – as we look closely at the process, we need to look at the length of time it takes for people to come into this job. So you can take the exam today, and three to four years might pass before you are actually called to come into the job. That’s ridiculous. I mean, we can’t continue to expect that we lose – 50 percent of the applicants drop out of the process. And so, what we want to do is get the very best people, as we have in the past. Some of the things we’ve accomplished – these officers standing along the walls – we want to get people who share their values to come into the job. And so – so that’s one of the objectives – is to shorten this to a one-year process. We’ve spoken to DCAS to begin to move into that direction. So we want – we – and the goal is to retain at least 50 percent more of those folks who would drop out. Certainly, we want to improve diversity, in regards to your question of the classes, both in terms of African-American males, but also in the broader context. For example, Asian women don’t come into the department in large enough numbers, we believe. And so, we – we are looking at that issue. And then also, we looked at our ability to process properly. So we are – we’ve got our processes spread all over the city. So we want to improve efficiency and customer service, because the feedback that we’ve gotten from some of the folks who have applied – we reached out to about 1,200 folks to ask why they dropped out of the process. And very often, they were dissatisfied with the process and the way in which they were treated. So, we are moving to improve our candidate assessment process in a variety of ways. So, we’ve done a number of things. We want to suspend exams from now through July, because you can walk in and take an exam. That process doesn’t make any sense right now. We have 62,000 people that are on 46 separate hiring lists at the moment. And so, we want to – we want to improve that and we can – we’ll be hiring off those lists as we – as we – as we move forward. We also want to – we’re developing a new recruitment campaign that will attract candidates that we are looking for, again, that meet the values, the compassion, the service, the desire to serve and so forth – who want to be part of the effort to restore the trust that we’ve been talking so much about, between the police and community. And so – and finally, we are going to consolidate our candidate assistance process. We’re taking it all to the old police academy on 20th Street. We’re going to consolidate three locations that are now scattered around at One Police Plaza, one in Brooklyn, and one in Queens – and move those all to one site. And so, we’re going to make it more user-friendly. We want to make it – when you walk through the door, and the place is clean, and the people who greet you are professional, that’s going to make a difference as to whether you decide that you want to be a part of this organization. We want people to feel that way. I know they will when they – when they get a sense of what the plan of action promises to the city going forward. People want to be a part of that.

Mayor: Thank you very much. Dean?

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: Say again? Say again?   

Question: [Inaudible]

Mayor: We’re sorry if we’re giving you too much information, Dean.

[Laughter]

Yeah. You complain we don’t give you enough information. We tried something new today.

Question: You’ve never heard me complain.

Mayor: There you go.

Question: [inaudible] instead of doing two classes a year at the academy, you’re going to do three or four [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: With the class coming in in July, it will be approximately 1,200 officers. Next class coming in – we anticipate will be October – 400. Next class three months later – 400 – and we will hire at that pace so that by the end of next fiscal year, June 30th, we will have hired up the 1,297 officers that the council and the mayor are authorizing. Plus the normal attrition of about 1,400 or 1,500 that we normally experience each year. 

And then going forward, we are hoping – as part of our plan of action changes – to have smaller classes in the academy. We are also hoping to eliminate that 50,000 candidate backlog in the pipeline so that every year I’ll give an exam, I’ll hire for a year, and then we end the list and give another exam so I always have fresh, contemporary people. 

Who the hell wants to wait around four years to get a job in today’s society? And we’re losing 50 percent of the candidates who drop out because they find other jobs. So this has been a major issue. And in that pipe line, we have a lot of candidates of different backgrounds, races. And, for example, we have identified 54 black males who had dropped out – who our Guardians Association have approached about getting back in the process. And that expectation is the majority of them will be in this class that we’ll hire in July. People who would’ve been gone otherwise but for Ben Tucker and Mike Julian, finally trying to fix this crazy system that we currently have.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: I’m glad you asked.

Question: What you’ve described for police officers, it sounds like a role that’s almost akin to a social worker. And you have a force of people who maybe end to think that’s what they were signing up for. Are you hearing any of that? Are you concerned about any pushback [inaudible]?

Mayor: Just as I passed to the Commissioner, I think that’s a misreading. I’m speaking as layman who will let the experts speak. Learning what a community is going through, learning who are the right informants, getting people to give you leads as to where criminals may be, where weapons may be. The example I gave the detective who, upon arriving at the crime scene because he had already developed some relationships got a witness to tell him where the criminal was. Doesn’t sound like social work to me. That sounds like policing – over to you, Commissioner. 

Chief of Department James O’Neill, NYPD: I’m going to jump in.

So, our primary mission of course is fighting crime. And if you look at some of the precincts throughout the city – probably the top 15 in violence – we’ve managed to push homicides and shootings down, but I think we can push them down even further. And the only way we can do that is with the help of the community. So our primary function is still fighting crime. That’s what we get paid for.

Commissioner Bratton: I’d point out that an issue group of eight NCO’s that – you’ve been introduced to some of them – all of them are some of the most active cops in this precinct. They’re coming out of narcotics units, coming out of conditions units. They’re coming out of units that are focused very heavily on crime. But their skills also include being able to deal with crime in ways in which we can build trust instead of creating alienation. 

So this was the same argument that was used with community policing in the 1990s – we’re recruiting warriors and then making social workers. No, we want people who can do it both. We want people who can deal with crime but do it in the way that they get satisfaction from what they’re doing and the public gets satisfaction from how they’re doing it.

Mayor: Okay on topic, yes?

Question: Do you think any of the policies or initiatives here would be impacted as the City Council moves forward with a criminal ban on police chokeholds upon the passing of the Right to Know Act or on any other police reform issue that they’re going to be hearing on?

Mayor: Look, you know my view on those issues and I think each issue should be treated on its own. The bottom line is this set of reforms I think is going to make a huge difference, and I think it’s going to really restore a lot of the faith that we want people to have in our police. And I think the whole world will see things in different perspective as these reforms deepen. But as for those pieces of legislation – at the appropriate time we’ll discuss them again. My position is quite well known.

Question: Could you explain, if possible, without [inaudible]? So why were you resistant [inaudible]?

Mayor: I’ll summarize again – I think several of you heard this, but I’ll let the commissioner speak to what’s possible or not possible under any scenario. But from my point of view, the commissioner and I, over the last year-and-a-half have talked about the future of this department. It’s been a constant conversation. Although we formally meet weekly, we tend to talk every day in some form or another. And it’s been a very deep, thoughtful conversation, I think, and I have really worked hard with him to figure out where we need to go, but what it really required was a full evaluation and a formal evaluation. This guy doesn’t do anything lightly. He doesn’t do anything unscientifically. So that evaluation concluded fairly recently, and as a result of it, the commissioner had a vision for neighborhood policing that required these resources and plays out in this fashion. And at the same time, we’ve been having an ongoing conversation about what we needed to do about new terrorist threats and ways that we could better address them, but also free up troop strength at the precinct level. So from my point of view, this happened very organically. The conversations were continuing. They were not gelled by May 7th, at the time of the executive budget. There were still a lot more to talk about. I think the commissioner alluded earlier to my deep interest in cost-savings, and those were two areas that we saw an opportunity – and yes, we made Mr. Grippo earn his money – we cut his salary as part of the cost-savings plan – sorry, we didn’t mention that, Vinny. We – we were very concerned, as was the City Council, about civilianization potential and about overtime limitations. And again, when we say that, we’re talking about the entire department. We’re not talking about how it affects an individual officer. We’re talking about trying to get the overall category of overtime to work within certain budgetary boundaries like every other agency. So, as those reforms got clarified, to the tune of about $70 million dollars a year, it certainly made it easier for me to feel good about the additional investments. And then finally, as I said, the City Council, you know, they’re my partners in government. This obviously was a high priority for them, and as we talked about a lot of items, it was one of the things they kept coming back to. So I think this came about in the way, you know, the government process is supposed to work – the ideas were put forward, a lot of us were won over those ideas, we found a way to afford it, we found a way to save the money we could save at the same time, and now I am very, very excited about where this is going to take us. Yes?

Question: Chief O’Neill [inaudible]?

Mayor: Well, as the commissioner noted, the core of that survey data was from about a year ago, but we don’t take it any more lightly because of that. And to the question of monitoring, I think it’s fair to say the commissioner and his team are data collectors on the grandest scale and will constantly be testing to see how things are working with the men and women of the force. But I think the answer to those specific concerns has been clearer and clearer – the commissioner, and he can speak to this, obviously changed some of the approach to discipline in a way that’s more fair to our officers. There was a real concern about frivolous lawsuits – we addressed this several months ago with the directive to the law department to actually spend more money to challenge frivolous lawsuits, even though that’s a costly endeavor. The goal is to change the reality fundamentally – to stop this phenomenon of frivolous lawsuits and to fight back to the point that we really turn the tide. I think that sent a clear message to our officers. The increased speed of CCRB cases – right now, I think we have the average – if I’m remembering correctly – under nine months, and we’re going to continue to push that number down. It used to be, sadly, that a CCRB case could be unresolved for, you know, a year or more – several years – and that was not fair to the officer and that was not fair to the complainant. So we’re really addressing a lot of the core concerns and valid concerns that the officers had, but we’re going to obviously make sure that as that happens, it’s – it is articulated and then we’ll see the impact it has. You want to add?

Commissioner Bratton: [inaudible]

Mayor: There you go. Look at that. You want to speak to it?

Commissioner Bratton: As the mayor pointed out, when we did the survey with the officers, it was quite clear, coming in in 2014, that morale in this department was not good. We did the survey to determine what was impacting morale, and we have begun to address, over this past year, and will continue with this new budget, to address all those issues. As it relates to discipline, CCRB – fear of CCRB complaints – why are they fearful of them? Because they can’t get promoted or they can’t get transferred with an open CCRB complaint – and, very often, the city will not indemnify or represent them if they have an open CCRB complaint. So it’s no wonder they’re damn scared of CCRB complaints, particularly when a lot of those CCRB complaints are not justified – are frivolous – not to say that all of them are, but many of them are. So what we’ve done, working with Richard Emery, the new head of CCRB, as he reorganizes his entity, we’re quite pleased that even as the department is continuing to push crime down, the number of complaints to internal affairs and to CCRB are down dramatically; the amount of time it takes to process those complaints is down dramatically; the amount of discipline I have to distribute because of that reduced level of complaints, that reduced level of findings that show the officer behaved inappropriately. It is our expectation – and I will be coming out next week with a white paper presentation to the men and women of the department – I gave a presentation to my union leaders this week – on all the things they expressed concern about in the disciplinary process, we have fixed every one of them – every one of them has been fixed and corrected and adjusted – and I’m just going to remind them of that to make sure that every officer in the department who will get my email about information like you see on the screen there. Okay? Thank you. 

Unknown: [inaudible] off topic. 

Mayor: Off-topic now? All right, off topic it is. 

Question: Can I do one more on topic?

Mayor: Will we allow one more on topic? I think we’re in a generous mood. Go ahead. 

Question: So just to be totally clear, you’ve given us a lot of details about how you’re going to be doing this, but how is it – community policing was a term that we’ve heard a lot, but this is neighborhood policing. And what is the difference between, you know, community policing, which we’ve seen over decades versus this new model of neighborhood policing?

Mayor: I’ll let the commissioner speak, but I just want to say what I like is I think it says even more clearly, the most local level – you know, we’re talking about an officer who gets to know a sector and then becomes a part of the life of that sector – that is the neighborhood. That is right there where people live. And I like it because of the immediacy and the urgency of the term – and it’s a term that, in a sense, is new to the discussion, which amplifies the fact that this is a new vision. This is a place we haven’t been before. 

Commissioner Bratton: Again, going back to my theme, everything old is new again. The initiative that I created in 1976 in Boston was called the Neighborhood Responsive Policing Program – has many of the elements of what Chief O’Neill has just described and designed. Boston, like New York, is a city of neighborhoods – that we think of Manhattan, we think of Brooklyn, but when you talk to people, they talk about, “I live in Park Slope,” I live here, I live – same for Boston – you might live in Dorchester, but you leave in Meading House Hill. In Boston, it’s what parish you live in. Here, people tend to identify by their P.S. number. So this plan is intended to focus on community policing – the whole community in New York. This is neighborhood by neighborhood, having cops that are assigned to a neighborhood who have ownership of that neighborhood, who have pride in that ownership. So the term neighborhood is purposely intended to be used instead of community policing. It has all the elements of community policing, but it identifies more with New York, which is a city of neighborhoods.

Mayor: Amen. 

All right, we are now going to off-topic. Grace –

Question: [inaudible] –

Mayor: Yes, hold on one second, we’re just going to let –

Commissioner Bratton: We’ve got to clear out most of the police from the background, if that’s – 

Mayor: We thank you very much. Thank you. 

[Applause]

All right. Okay, we’re going to off-topic. Grace. 

Question: [inaudible] Albany –

Mayor: Breaking news, Grace?

Question: – Governor Cuomo saying that the city of New York did very, very well in the legislative package [inaudible]. [inaudible] – why or why not? [inaudible] your assessment of how New York City has [inaudible]. 

Mayor: Well, as you know, right now, they’re just at the final point in the legislative process. So I’ll give you a very broad overview, but I’m going to reserve my rights to see the final product. Everyone who’s familiar with Albany knows there’s a lot of shaking out in the last hours of the process. I think, at this moment – I said yesterday, we were carefully watching and involved in, obviously, the issue of rent and the issue of 421-a. I think some real progress has been made on rent. I think in the future there’ll be more to do, but some real progress has been made. So far, what we’ve seen on 421-a leaves me optimistic that many of the original goals that we sought to achieve are being achieved, but again, I’m going to reserve my rights to see the final details. What we said in terms of 421-a is it had to focus on affordability in a very consistent manner. And from what I’m hearing, so far, the bill has moved in that direction, but we’ll have a lot more to say as we get more detail.

Question: [inaudible] more details about the rent deal – you were saying [inaudible]?

Mayor: Again, I’m – because this is breaking news, I’m going to wait until we see the whole package, and then we’ll give you some more formal response. 

Question: What is the status of the search for Tareek Arnold?

Mayor: Again?

Question: What is the status of the search for Tareek Arnold?

Mayor: The status – you want to come up?

Commissioner Bratton: It – what are we talking about?

Mayor: The search – 

Question: What is the status of the search for [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: I think you all know Chief Bob Boyce – Chief of Detectives. Bob?

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. That – in the matter of Tareek Arnold, we are actively seeking him now. We’ve visited over 50 locations looking for him. He is a gang member. So every one of his gang members that we’ve identified, we’ve knocked on their door. We have the regional task force plugged into this as well, so those locations are also out of state – but for the majority, they’re in Manhattan as well, so we’re – we feel confident we’re going to find him. We have a very tight ring set around Upper Manhattan and as well as the neighboring states. 

Mayor: Yes.

Question: The governor all but just said that, you know, he was [inaudible]. The governor, in a response to a question in Albany, recently just said – all but said he was the anonymous official who was [inaudible] your administration. What do you make of the comments that you’ve heard from the governor about you and your administration?

Mayor: Again, we are focused, right now, on policy. I know that’s a little hard to take in, but what we care about in Albany is the policies that are being determined as we speak. That’s where my focus will remain. When we get a sense of everything that’s being finalized, then it’ll be an opportunity to talk about the overall process. 

Question: Mr. Mayor, today was the graduation at John Dewey High School, where a number of students graduated under a cloud, because there’s been an ongoing investigation of grade-fixing. The original charges were brought to the Department of Education in May of 2014. It’s now June of 2015. Are you satisfied with the pace of the investigation? And don’t you think something should be done, given the fact that some people are graduating, probably without [inaudible]?

Mayor: I’d need to ask the chancellor the status of that. I don’t want to give you a detailed answer without hearing directly from the DOE. So we’ll be happy to get you an answer once we get more information. 

Question: [inaudible] a year is long –

Mayor: Again, it depends on the instance, and I don’t want to prejudge. 

Question: [inaudible] Haitian people. Now, what did you mean, exactly, because some people don’t understand?

Mayor: Sure. Well, the first thing I want to say on this issue, as I said on Sunday – this is not about the people of the Dominican Republic. It’s about the policies of the government of the Dominican Republic – and those policies, in my view, are leading to the potential expulsion of between 100,000 and 200,000 people who have a common characteristic – they are either people of Haitian descent or presumed to be, and they are obviously people of African descent. And from everything that the reports we’ve received from international human rights monitors and the United Nations, this constitutes a potential expulsion on a level we have rarely seen, particularly from an allied nation, you know, near our borders. And it sends a horrible message, in a world where issues of immigration are so deeply debated at this point in history, for a country to move on such a mass scale to deport people, including many people who have only known that as their home – not just in their own lives, in their families’ lives – even for another generation or two. It’s an immoral policy. And I said it is, bluntly, a racist policy. So we’re calling upon the government of the Dominican Republic to stop this policy dead in its tracks – and I was joined on Sunday by leaders – very prominent leaders – of the Dominican American community and the Haitian American community in unity. And by the way, in a world of bad news stories, I think there’s a good news story that should be looked into here – that brave Dominican American leaders stood shoulder to shoulder with Haitian American leaders to say this does not represent our values and we are going to defend our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent. 

Unknown: Two more questions.

Question: Mr. Mayor, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries is leading the charge to remove the name of Robert E. Lee from a main thoroughfare in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn. How do you feel about that? And what do you think of the Confederate Flag?

Mayor: Well, look the Confederate Flag has to come down in the various locations it is now. For example, obviously the move – it’s finally moving on South Carolina – but at the various state capitols and other prominent public locations, that flag needs to come down. It is sadly a symbol of division and hatred and it needs to be taken out of circulation. I agree with President Obama, who said it should be in a museum. 

As for other permutations, or other examples of our past – and there are many. I agree with the concept that there should be some kind of commission to look at how we deal with these issues of things that have been named after people from the Confederacy, but I don’t think we can isolate one. You know, one place or another, I think this has to be looked at as a larger question. The thing I think we can all agree on is the Confederate flag has to come down.

Question: [inaudible] What would be your policy [inaudible].

Mayor: Well, I appreciate another version of the question. That shows creativity.

Again, my focus right now is on the issues being worked on literally as we speak in Albany that will affect the people of this city. From the beginning of this process, I said we’re talking about issues that affect millions of people. That’s my focus, not personalities. We’re going to work on finishing the session in Albany then we’ll talk about other things.

Last one, go ahead.

Question: Mr. Mayor, you’re a Red Sox fan. Pedro Martinez today took a swipe at you over this whole issue in the Dominican Republic. Does this hurt? I mean, what do you think of him [inaudible].

Mayor: I thought you were going to say Pedro Martinez threw a brushback pitch at me. 

[Laughter]

I mean, do I have to write your material for you? I mean, come on.

I think the world of Pedro Martinez. He’s wrong on this in my opinion. This is a moral issue. And the notion that tens of thousands, even between a hundred and two hundred thousand people could be expelled simply because they’re black, that’s not a complicated issue. So I think the world of Pedro, but I stand by my position.

Thanks, everyone.

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