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Community Groups to Have Greater Say in Selection of Police Precinct Commanders: De Blasio

Jan. 28, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Residents will have a greater say as to who is in charge of their local police precinct, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mayor announced Thursday that members of the community precinct councils will get to interview candidates for precinct commander positions when the position opens in their area.

Each precinct has a community council, comprised of residents who work with officers to combat crime and address local issues. Most precinct councils hold monthly meetings with officers that are open to the public.

“This is unprecedented in the history of the NYPD,” de Blasio said. “We’re bringing the voices of the community forward to determine who will be the right leader.”

Under the new policy, when the role of a commanding officer opens in a precinct, the NYPD will provide three to five candidates to the local precinct council. The community council members will then interview each nominee and provide feedback to the department.

The NYPD Commissioner will still make the ultimate hiring decision, but will take the council feedback into consideration, de Blasio said. After the role is filled, the precinct council will review the work of the precinct commander and submit an annual evaluation as well.

The policy went into effect today.

De Blasio credited Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams, who was once a NYPD officer himself, for the idea.

Adams joined de Blasio at the press conference announcing the new policy Thursday morning.

“Our communities deserve a role in choosing the leadership that has so much power in ensuring officers are doing their job well and doing it fairly,” Adams said.

De Blasio said the new policy will deepen the relationship between police officers and the communities they serve.

“The way to a safer city runs through the hearts and souls of the people of the city and the involvement of the folks in our neighborhoods,” he said. “Our police work so hard, [but] they cannot do it alone. It has to be a collaborative effort between police and community for it to work.”

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea called the new policy a “win” for community policing and said it would build trust between the department and the community.

The announcement is part of a number of reforms de Blasio is introducing to improve the NYPD. He will disclose more of the reforms at his “State of the City” address tonight, he said.

Most precinct commanders are in charge for about two years before they are transferred by NYPD leaders to another position.

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