As people around the country continue to question the integrity of officers, New York City is in negotiations with their police force. The largest police union in the city is currently working with the city as they negotiate, and one thing on the table is body cameras, and a pay increase for those who will wear them.
Currently, the city is offering a 1 percent increase in pay for those officers that will be required to wear body cameras. While it sounds odd, there are some large complaints from the police force. The body cameras are bulky and can be an encumbrance when officers are working. In order to even wear the body cameras, officers are forced to go through body-cam training, plus the stress of constantly being recorded all day long. The NYPD has been delaying the implementation of body cameras that stemmed from a federal court order in 2013, news of that order can be found here. The delay will come to an end in 2017.
In 2017, one thousand body cameras will be deployed on NYPD officers. By 2008, that number is expected to grow to roughly five thousand. The NYPD currently employs about 35,800 officers, this is still a very small percentage, but it is a start when it comes to complying with the federal court order.
The city wasn’t open to discussing the ongoing negotiations with the police union, but the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association had a few words. They are concerned about the rights and safety of both police officers and the public, and they would like those concerns to be addressed before the city forces officers to wear cameras. While paying officers extra to wear the cameras does not resolve all the issues, it does show the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association that the city is recognizing that it does increase burdens and duties for NYPD officers who previously were originally asked to take on those duties with no further compensation.
In the past, police unions have widely claimed body cameras pose higher stress levels, job difficulties, and concerns over the privacy of the officer as well as some civilians as reasons they stand against the body cameras. Those who believe body cameras will help decrease the questions in officer related shootings believe the police unions are simply trying to block the technology that could bring transparency to the police department.
For more than three decades, William J. Bratton has been perhaps the most-recognizable face of the New York Police Department. No longer. Bratton announced August 2 that he would leave his role as New York City Police Commissioner next month for a job in the private sector.
Bratton rose to prominence in the 1990s, when he worked in tandem with then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani to form a style of policing known as “broken windows,” which was credited with reducing the city’s crime rate. Although it later drew criticism for what some considered its infringements on citizens’ rights, the crime rate fell precipitously during Bratton’s tenure as commissioner. Bratton first caught Giuliani’s attention as New York City Transit Police chief, where he began experimenting with this style of policing.
After Bratton and Giuliani fell out in 1996, Bratton left for the private sector and then resurfaced in Los Angeles, where he was known as anti-corruption warrior from 2002 to 2009. Bratton again decamped to a job outside government in 2009, but he was picked by Mayor Bill de Blasio to return to New York in 2014.
Although crime has continued to fall since then in the city, Bratton has faced increasing public criticism. According to the New York Times, some New York City Council members expressed excitement at the prospect of the post-Bratton era, labelling him an “imperial police commissioner.”
In conjunction with Bratton’s announcement, de Blasio promoted current New York Police Chief James P. O’Neill to replace him.
On June 9, hundreds of past and present officers from the New York Police Department gathered to give a military veteran and former police detective an honorable burial in New York.
William Brown died last month at the age of 95. According to media reports, he had no remaining family or close friends, so officers from NYPD’s 113th Precinct organized a funeral for him.
The 113th Precinct first became aware of Brown last winter when a concerned neighbor told them she hadn’t seen him in days. The officers checked his apartment and discovered he had been hospitalized for hypothermia because his heater wasn’t working. They also found out that he was a World War II vet and a retired NYPD detective.
“His personal life wasn’t really in order,” said Deputy Inspector Frederick Grover, the commanding officer of the precinct. “They helped him with his benefits and got him properly registered with the VA. They helped him get to doctor’s appointments.”
Officers also arranged to get Brown’s heater repaired, and one detective began visiting him on Sundays. When she couldn’t reach him on May 17, another officer went to his apartment and found he had passed away. No one came forward to claim his body, and the precinct was notified he would be buried in a potter’s field.
However, Brown’s fellow cops wouldn’t allow that to happen.
“That’s when we said we’ll make sure that he’s treated right,” said Grover.
The 113th Precinct paid for Brown’s funeral. They even posted his story on social media to encourage others to attend his service. Several hundred officers from various precincts answered the call and helped march Brown to his final resting place in Queens.