The New York City Police Department (“Department”) takes every instance of alleged domestic violence seriously. Consistent with the values and tenets of our disciplinary process, discipline for domestic incidents must be imposed fairly and with equity. Fairness within a discipline system means taking the time and effort to objectively review the circumstances surrounding the alleged misconduct, including the reliability, intention and motivation of all witnesses, nature and impact of the misconduct on members of the public and the Department, the absence, presence and extent of harm, the level of training of the officer in question, and the tenure and history of the officer with the Department, as well as other mitigating and aggravating factors. Equity within a discipline system means holding every employee accountable for unacceptable behavior, without regard to rank, title, demographic or assignment. Each disciplinary matter is unique, requires a comprehensive analysis, and must consider the totality of the circumstances.
The most serious disciplinary cases involve allegations of unlawful behavior or criminal conduct. The Department investigates allegations of criminal conduct in conjunction with the appropriate prosecutor's office. This may result in both a criminal prosecution and ultimately an internal disciplinary proceeding, regardless of the outcome of the criminal matter. When a member of service1 ("MOS") is charged with a crime, the Department also files internal disciplinary charges against the member because criminal conduct always includes a corresponding violation of the Department's internal rules. Generally, the Department's internal disciplinary cases will not begin until criminal prosecutions have been fully resolved so as not to impede the criminal justice process. The standard of proof that must be established in a Department administrative proceeding is preponderance of the credible evidence while the standard of proof that must be established for a criminal conviction is one of beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Police Commissioner, by law, is responsible for the cognizance and control of the Police Department. As such, the Commissioner is the final arbiter of disciplinary findings as well as the appropriate penalty in disciplinary matters involving members of the police force.2
Domestic Violence - When a member of the service engages in physical or other types of abuse of a member of their family/household.
Family/Household3 – Included are persons who are legally married to one another, were formerly legally married to one another, related by marriage (affinity), related by blood (consanguinity), have a child in common regardless of whether such persons have been married or have lived together at any time, not related by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage) and who are, or have been, in an intimate relationship regardless of whether such persons have lived together at any time, currently living together in a family-type relationship, or formerly lived together in a family-type relationship.
Presumptive Penalty – The assumed penalty or penalty range generally deemed appropriate for a specific proscribed act. The presumptive penalty serves as the starting point for analysis during the penalty phase of a case, which must include consideration of the totality of the circumstances, strength of the evidence and any aggravating and or mitigating factors. The Police Commissioner, who is statutorily empowered to adjudicate discipline, makes the final determination and may deviate from the presumptive penalties. The penalty determination and the bases for deviations are memorialized as part of the final adjudication of the case.
Penalty Days - The loss of vacation days and or the imposition of suspension days. If a MOS was immediately suspended from duty pursuant to the nature of the misconduct, the forfeiture of suspension days, imposed prior to the final disposition of the case, may also be used as part of a disciplinary penalty.
Dismissal Probation – As part of a disciplinary penalty, the MOS concerned is dismissed from the Police Department, and he or she acknowledges that dismissal in writing, however the Department delays the imposition of the dismissal for a one-year period during which the MOS is placed on probation. During the one-year probationary period, the MOS's conduct is monitored and evaluated on a monthly basis, and the MOS's commanding officer is required to submit monthly reports assessing the MOS's conduct. If there is further misconduct within the probationary period, the Department may summarily dismiss the MOS without a formal hearing. Dismissal Probation is also used to enforce other conditions in disciplinary penalties; for example, when a MOS has admitted to, or been found guilty of, a domestic violence offense, they may also be required to participate in counseling services. Such MOS may be placed on Dismissal Probation to ensure their continued cooperation with counseling services, and to allow the Department to take immediate action against them if they do not successfully complete the mandated program(s). If, however, the MOS successfully completes the year on probation, the dismissal penalty will be waived and the MOS returned to a non-probationary status.
Dismissal or Forced Separation – The Police Commissioner, upon a finding or admission of wrongdoing in a disciplinary matter, has the authority to dismiss (terminate) a MOS from the Department. The Department may require that a MOS separate (forced separation) from the Department, in lieu of dismissal, as part of a disciplinary Settlement Agreement. A MOS may be entitled to all or part of their accrued pension benefits, as governed by New York State pension laws.
Physical Act of Domestic Violence – An act of domestic violence in which the MOS used physical force against the victim.
Additional Sanctions - In addition to the penalties outlined above, the Department may require MOS to participate in counseling or monitoring programs, designed to address the misconduct in which they were involved.
Additional Terms – Any terms not expressly defined herein shall have their same meanings in NYS Law, Departmental procedure or in common parlance.
While the presumptive penalties outlined above are significant and reflect the seriousness of domestic violence offenses, certain aggravating factors may lead to additional penalties, over and above the presumptive penalties. The following aggravating factors may impact domestic violence penalties and result in an increase in the total number of penalty days. These increased penalties may be imposed upon a MOS determined to have committed act(s) of domestic violence whether or not such incident included a physical act. These factors and corresponding penalty enhancements are only a guide. Depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case, actual penalties may vary. Penalties may run consecutively or concurrently, depending on whether the aggravating factor(s) are determined to have occurred as part of a single incident, or if they occurred independently and represent separate acts. The Police Commissioner has the statutory authority to make the final determination as to the findings and any penalties related to a disciplinary matter.
|Aggravating Factor||Additional Penalty Range|
|Leaving the scene and failure to report/notify||5 days|
|Failure to report/notify||5 days|
|Failure to safeguard firearm during a DV incident||5-20 days|
|Children present w/reasonable risk of harm to child||10-20 days|
|Children calling 911 to report||10 days|
|Preventing 911 calls/preventing seeking assistance||10 days|
|Confiscating/damaging victim's phone||10 days|
|Calling or showing up at C/W's job and or harassing C/W||10 days|
|Coerce/threaten/intimidate witness and or C/W (including threatening third parties)||10 days|
|Damage property||10-20 days|
|Incident while on duty||10-20 days|
|Failure to notify re: service of OOP (member is the named respondent)||10 days|
|Failure to identify self to responding law enforcement personnel||10 days|
|Weapon/instrument used (other than firearm or SPI)||10 days|
|Harming animal/family pet||10 days|
|Enter/remain without permission in victim's home/place of refuge||10 days|
|Preventing victim from leaving premises/vehicle||10 days|
|Vulnerable victim (elderly, incapacitated, etc.)||15 days|
|Unfit for duty||15 days*|
|Alcohol a factor in the incident||5-15 days*|
|Violate Order of Protection||20 days**|
|Level of injury – gradations of type & severity||5-30 days|
* Also includes alcohol counseling and ordered breath testing
** Unless qualifies as a separation case
5 The 24-week counseling program may be imposed as a condition of probation even if the MOS previously completed the 4 or 8-week Domestic Incident Education Program administered by the NYPD Medical Division.
7 See Commission to Combat Police Corruption, Sixteenth Annual Report of the Commission, October 2014 at p. 53; See also Hon. Mary Jo White, Hon. Robert L. capers and Hon. Barbara S. Jones, The Report of the Independent Panel on the Disciplinary System of the New York City Police Department, January 2019 at p. 55.
9 Id. at p. 73. This requirement may be waived if there is an ongoing proceeding in Criminal and or Family Court, or a criminal investigation related to the acts underlying the misconduct being adjudicated.
11 The Commission to Combat Police Corruption noted that, "subject officers who commit one domestic violence offense, in most circumstances, should be given the opportunity to rehabilitate themselves and conform their behavior to the standards required of law enforcement officers." Eighteenth Annual Report at p. 70.