NYPD

NYPD Rejects Transparency, Embraces Secrecy of Officer Discipline Records

After decades of making "Personnel Orders" public, NYPD quietly decides they don't have to.

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None of your business if I got in trouble.
torbakhopper/Flickr

The NYPD has reversed decades of department policy regarding the release of officer discipline records to the public, the New York Daily News reports.

The policy change was never announced, but appears to have taken place some time in April, when the department stopped updating its "Personnel Orders" clipboard in the NYPD's public information office. The clipboard reportedly listed all instances of administrative discipline of officers, as well as promotions and retirements. But a few months ago, the clipboard simply stopped being updated, supposedly to "save paper."

But now the NYPD admits that they've stopped making officer discipline information public because "somebody" tipped them off that the records are protected by a section of a 40-year-old New York State Civil Rights Law. The department contends the records should never have been made public and can only be ordered to be released by a judge.

The Daily News cites outgoing Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio's repeated pledges for greater transparency, but notes:

As public advocate, de Blasio released a report that gave the NYPD a failing grade for disclosure of public information. He recommended city agencies be fined for ignoring Freedom of Information Law requests. And he said agencies should be required file monthly reports to the public advocate and City Council. None of those proposals have been implemented.

De Blasio has since been blasted for turning his back on his own calls for open public records and creating the term "agents of the city" to keep correspondence between City Hall and outside political advisors under wraps.

Last month, a bill known as the Right to Know Act — which according to the New York Times would "require officers to identify and explain themselves when they stop people, and to make sure people know when they can refuse to be searched" — was shelved by liberal City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in favor of a compromise which put such rules into the NYPD's patrol guide, but not implemented as city law.

Additionally, as my colleague C.J. Ciaramella wrote earlier this month, the NYPD is currently being sued for "stonewalling a records request for information on how it collects and distributes 'tens of millions' of dollars in seized cash and property under asset forfeiture laws."

Such developments appear to indicate that transparency in the NYPD is backsliding rather than improving, despite the rhetoric of New York's unabashedly progressive mayor, who according to the Daily News is currently on vacation and whose spokesman declined to comment for the story.

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31 responses to “NYPD Rejects Transparency, Embraces Secrecy of Officer Discipline Records

  1. And the PEEPULS CHAMPEEON DeBlasio…?

    *crickets*

    1. Deblasio champion of the people.

      /hand covers mouth. Giggles.

      1. He waited about 37 seconds to go Bolivarian, once reaching Gracie Mansion.

    2. Start working at home with GOOGLE! YAHOO. ABCNEWS AND MORE GLOBAL SITES? It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Monday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this ? 4 weeks past. I began this 7-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $97 per hour. i work through this web.. Go this website and go to tech tab for more details… http://goo.gl/jrG8Uv

    3. Start working at home with GOOGLE! YAHOO. ABCNEWS AND MORE GLOBAL SITES? It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Monday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this ? 4 weeks past. I began this 7-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $97 per hour. i work through this web.. Go this website and go to tech tab for more details… http://goo.gl/jrG8Uv

        1. Over under on Squirrelz up three by Friday?

          1. 100 quatloos on the Squirrelz.

  2. “We’ve done it lads, no more officers are being disciplined! Police repugnance will surely fall!”

  3. As public advocate, de Blasio released a report that gave the NYPD a failing grade for disclosure of public information. He recommended city agencies be fined for ignoring Freedom of Information Law requests. And he said agencies should be required file monthly reports to the public advocate and City Council. None of those proposals have been implemented.

    De Blasio has since been blasted for turning his back on his own calls for open public records and creating the term “agents of the city” to keep correspondence between City Hall and outside political advisors under wraps

    Another reporter shocked that what a politician says and what a politician actually does are utterly incompatible. A politician’s speech contains only slightly more information about what they will do in office than their farts.

  4. The voters apparently like one party rule and support “New York’s Finest.” Who was the last police commissioner who cleaned up, Teddy Roosevelt?

  5. If the public employee union controlled Democratic Party machine that runs the City of New York is unresponsive to the concerns of voters who live there, I think there’s only one reasonable thing to do.

    Vote Democrat even harder next time!

    Single party governments have all the same problems for all the same reasons.

    1. Oh you, so cynical. If you believe hard enough, magical things do happen! A worldwide corporation started by a Jew hating maniac essentially told me so.

      1. Dammit, there’s no evidence for Walt Disney being an anti-Semite!

        1. Okay then explain why only one of the Seven Dwarves was Jewish.

          1. Hey, leave Jewy out of this!

          2. Was it Stingy or Nosy?

          3. “…explain why only one of the Seven Dwarves was Jewish?”

            The Brothers Grimm…Germans
            Wiki, “During the 1930s and 40s, the tales were used as propaganda by the Third Reich”
            Must have needed a scapegoat.

  6. …was shelved by liberal City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in favor of a compromise which put such rules into the NYPD’s patrol guide, but not implemented as city law.

    Does the patrol guide have any governance over how NYPD officers conduct themselves?

  7. Here’s a list of all the city council members in New York City:

    http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml

    If you give it a quick glance, you’ll find that almost all of them have one thing in common.

    No, it isn’t that they’re gay.

    No, it isn’t that 48 out of 51 of them are Democrats!

    I just checked, and even for the 3 out of 51 NYC council members who are Republicans–all three were endorsed by the the NYPD union, the NYC Patrolman’s Benevolent Association.

    http://josephborelli.com/borel…..e-support/

    https://www.nycpba.org/pac/endorse-2013.pdf

    And you thought having 48 out of 51 seats on the city council meant that the Democrats were well represented?

    The NYPD police union is better represented on the city council than the Democratic Party!!!

    The city council doesn’t tell the police what to do. The city council asks the NYPD for permission.

    If someone on the city council screwed up the order of operations, it’s actually quite magnanimous of the NYPD to be sensitive on the matter in public.

    Because if they publicly disregarded what the city council wanted, I doubt it would make any difference.

    1. almost all of them have one thing in common

      Another thing most of them have in common is roots in the city’s vast pubsec union machine. “Organizers”, “activists”, that sort of thing.

    2. Being a lawyer in a large firm, we get local judicial candidates in here all the time.

      I’ve been warned in the past not to ask them what it means for a judge to have an endorsement from the Police Benevolent Association. Apparently that might ruffle some feathers.

      1. Yeah, I don’t see how there could be a good answer to that question.

        I swear, the biggest problem America has today is a problem that’s so pervasive, so awful, and so controversial that no politician in any party anywhere will ever say it out loud.

        The biggest problem America has today is the American voters themselves.

        If people look down the ticket, see officials endorsed by a public employee union, and vote for the candidate for that reason, I don’t know what the solution is to that problem–but those endorsements apparently do make a big difference.

        It isn’t just with the police, obviously, either. People vote for school administrators because they’re endorsed by the union they’re supposed to oversee. It’s the same with the trash guys and everyone else.

        The amazing thing about markets is that they make stupid people behave AS IF they were smart.

        Elections, on the other hand, have no such effect.

        And how do we address the problem of voters and their lack of intelligence and character through the democratic process?

        I guess the great thing about democracy is that we get to kick the bums out periodically. It is not that elections represent the voice of the people–and that’s giving the people the benefit of the doubt. Otherwise, do we the people really want our representatives to be beholden to those we elect them to oversee?

        Yeah, calling the voters stupid is giving them the benefit of the doubt.

        1. no politician in any party anywhere will ever say it out loud

          Of course not – it would be suicide.

          I would say the bigger problem is the vast amount of power they have appropriated for themselves over the centuries. It’s going to take a lot more than savvy voting to fix that.

          1. the bigger problem is the vast amount of power they have appropriated for themselves over the centuries

            THIS^^ Why do you think there are so many pigs at the troughs over on K street? Because, as Willie Sutton said, “That’s where the money is.”

  8. “Additionally, as my colleague C.J. Ciaramella wrote earlier this month, the NYPD is currently being sued for “stonewalling a records request for information on how it collects and distributes ‘tens of millions’ of dollars in seized cash and property under asset forfeiture laws.”

    Just to be clear, I love the idea that if people only knew the truth, it would make a difference.

    Anyone ever read “Bartleby, the Scrivener” in college?

    We wall want to believe our work is important. I want to believe that things would be different if only people knew.

    I want to believe.

    Is the NSA doing anything different now post Snowden, or did Congress just decide to make their evil ostensibly legal?

  9. “the Right to Know Act ? which according to the New York Times would “require officers to identify and explain themselves when they stop people, and to make sure people know when they can refuse to be searched” ? was shelved by liberal City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito in favor of a compromise which put such rules into the NYPD’s patrol guide, but not implemented as city law.”
    Melissa is obviously not a woman of color or she would be concerned about the plight of people of color (POC) being searched. Why restrain cops with a law and expose them to more lawsuits when they violate them when one can have a simple “guide” that can be disregarded with impunity.

    What!?? You say she is a POC. I call BS. Prove it.

    http://council.nyc.gov/d8/html/members/home.shtml
    “Melissa Mark-Viverito currently serves as the Speaker of the New York City Council, the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position. ”

    Yeah, ok. But she looks white in that photo so I am half right. She better not be trying to glom some of my white privilege by being passable. Homey don’t play that.

    1. the first Puerto Rican and Latina to hold a citywide elected position

      Believe me, she doesn’t pass up any opportunity to let us know about it. Also, she completely lacks charisma and is as crooked as they get – which means she’s a shoo-in for mayor some day.

  10. Maybe doctors’ records should be released publicly as well?

    Joe Schlobtnik: heart bypasses 135 successful 71 deaths 64
    Vinnie Barbarino liver transplants 27 successful 12 deaths 15

    etc.

    ‘successful’ would need to be very strictly defined: alive 3 years later for the livers, 5 years for the bypasses
    (Maybe Groovus can craft the right measures)

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