Around 24 members of the City Council proposed a bill on Wednesday that would produce an office of the inspector general to oversee the New York Police Department and “conduct independent reviews of the department’s policies, practices, programs and operations,”according to The New York Times.
The New York Times said that police departments of other large cities, like Los Angeles and Chicago, are monitored and inspected, as are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency. Likewise, the council members feel that there should be an increase in supervision of the activity of the New York Police Department. This program is meant to refine the New York Police’s use of stop-and-frisks, as well as their scrutiny of Muslims.
The bill has been sent to the Committee on Public Safety. Aside from Jumaane Williams, who helped author the bill, no councilmembers from Sheepshead Bites’ coverage area are among the 24 co-sponsors of the bill.
The amount of power that the inspector general would posses is still unknown. He would be chosen by the mayor and would have subpoena power, but that the office’s finances and workers will be decided by the City Council.
“This kind of independent oversight can act as an early-warning system for a very large agency,” said Richard M. Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, to the New York Times.
The New York Times believes that Mayor Michael Bloomberg, being that he has defended the actions of the NYPD in the past, will probably not support the institution of such a bill. Therefore, 34 votes in the City Council will most likely be needed for this proposal to actually become law. This bill has been sponsored by Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander.
The Police Department responded to the proposal, and said that this additional oversight of the police department is not necessary.
“The department is probably under more scrutiny than any other police agency, probably in the world,” said Paul J. Browne, the NYPD’s chief spokesman, to the New York Times. “It may sound good to the sponsors on paper, but it appears to the department to be just redundant.”
Browne said that the police department is already overseen by United States lawyers, five district attorneys, the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Commission to Combat Police Corruption. He feels that additional oversight would be a waste of resources.
Do you think residents would benefit by an additional layer of oversight for the NYPD?