The New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on Monday that the NYPD will disband its anti-crime units and will be reassign those officers into a “variety of assignments including detective bureaus, neighborhood policing, and other assignments” effective immediately.
Shea called the disband of anti-crime policing is in “the realm of closing one of the last chapters of stop-question-and-frisk.”
“We welcome reform, but we also believe that meaningful reform starts from within,” Shea said during a news conference Monday afternoon. “Make no mistake, this is a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city.”
The anti-crime unit consist of an elite force of plainclothes undercover officers that patrols the city’s most violent areas in their respective command. They are tasked with the mission of being pro active by spotting criminals during criminal activity in order to arrest them, as well as focusing on getting illegal guns off the streets.
“This is 21st-century policing: intelligence, data, ShotSpotter, video, DNA, and building prosecutable cases,” Shea said of his decision to disband the units. “It continues to be building these cases—cases on a small number of people that unfortunately still terrorize a part of this city.”
“Trust is critical to effective policing,” Shea added. “Trust takes a long time to earn, and it is very easy to lose. We will continue to work relentlessly to earn and keep that trust, because without community partnership, we cannot effectively do our jobs.”
Shea said the changes that will affect roughly 600 plainclothes officers doesn’t reflect their work and it was based on a personal “policy shift.”
“This is a policy shift coming from me, personally, and the men and women in the police department we are doing what I asked. They have done an exceptional job, but again I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city,” Shea said. “We always struggle with, I believe as police executives, is not keeping crime down—it’s keeping crime down and keeping the community working with us. And I think those two things, at times, have been at odds.”
He ended the news conference by stating the move to disband will be noticed in communities by the increased violence.
“It will be felt immediately throughout the five district attorney’s offices. It will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect,” the police commissioner noted. “The key difference — we must do it in a manner that builds trust between the officers and the community they serve.”
According to the NYPD data released on Monday, gun violence in New York is at a two-year high, with shooting spiking up at 25 percent this year, and murders also up at 25 precent for the year.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch respond to the change, bashing the decision and blamed city lawmakers and officials. He stated the units works to proactively protect the city, particularly against gun violence.
“Anti-Crime’s mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence,” Lynch said in a statement. “Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.”