NYPD Unchained


Long cover story in the Voice about plans to rescind guidelines that restrict New York's finest from spying in cases where no criminal activity has been alleged or detected. What a surprise: Ed Koch has now pulled a full Dershowitz and wants the cops to have more power, and he's willing to break a few eggs to do it: "I believe absolutely there will be occasions that go too far. That's the necessary cost of protecting the public in these times where we're dealing with terrorism."

This is yet another story detailing how the cops rousted legitimate activists back in the Jurassic period—a pretty shopworn device by this point; there have got to be better arguments against expanded cop spying than dragging out old chestnuts about how The Man came down on innocent Panthers. The most striking thing about this article is the reminder that the New York City Police Department is by a country mile the largest law enforcement in the country, dwarfing even the FBI:

The department employs approximately 53,000 people, with some 37,500 armed officers—more than triple the 11,400 noncivilian agents who work nationwide for the FBI, which has approximately 27,800 employees in total and operates a New York bureau of about 1500. The Immigration and Naturalization Service staffs about 36,000. (The Central Intelligence Agency's size is confidential.)