BETTER NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING

I stand with the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus which soundly rejects the Defund the Police movement in favor of nuanced reform. I will continue to follow their lead when it comes to such decisions that will affect their communities disproportionately.

In tackling an issue like this, it is important to identify the three interest groups primarily involved. They are: the NYPD themselves, people who are mistreated by the department, and the public at large.   

For those communities that are frequently abused by the police, huge problems arise largely in the process of discipline by the NYPD, the lack of transparency, and the ultimate power of the union which culminates in the Commissioner's monopoly over firing. 

Our community board, though flawed in its current iteration, is a path to circumvent those problems. We need to utilize the community board's power to call in officers and liaison with the local precincts. Our board could in fact give power to communities like those in NYCHA to convene fast, fair, and transparent hearings on potential abuse while simultaneously coordinating with the precincts in efforts to curb violence.

 

Crime is up, and everyone in the community is affected negatively by it. We need to help and support the NYPD in addressing the issue. The NYPD is shut out of medical psych training in City Hall despite the fact that 60% of accused wrongful deaths involve the emotionally disturbed.

 

My conversations with local officers like Steven Rodriguez who served for fifteen plus years in the Amsterdam Houses, have led me to believe that our neighborhood has an exceptional group of police officers. We need to celebrate and support them with the resources to best serve the community. Good cops save lives, help the sick, organize neighborhoods, and positively influence the local youth.

Until City Hall is able to provide the NYPD with trained health professionals to augment the department, I am working to gather therapists from the community to serve in a Guardian Angels of the Mind role. We are blessed to live in a capital of therapy with some of the most brilliant mental health professionals right here in our district.

As a councilman I will receive $150K in annual discretionary funds. These funds need to be used to improve public safety, fund programs that augment the NYPD, and provide services to those who need not ever interact with the police in the first place.  

There is nothing in the name of the NYPD that must spell doom or gloom. We can make 2021 proof for the entire nation that positive change happens fast when we find ways to listen, communicate, and change our minds together. 

Lastly, to Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and current Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, I once again beseech you to select the next batch of 23 community board appointments in a transparent and fair fashion. Few here in the neighborhood are satisfied with the present situation which has been produced by a historically opaque selection process. NYCHA has just two residents on the community board, but their communities occupy half of the 2021 community board priority list. We must do better at bringing the actual stakeholders to the table. Gale, Helen, we can do this. Step up.