NYPD begins stop-and-frisk training for officers

June 20, 2012 3:44:30 PM PDT
For the first time, the training goes beyond the classroom and involves officers in mock Stop and Frisk drills.

Every NYPD officer will be required to take this new 8-hour course on how to professionally and legally conduct the stops. This after a growing outcry over hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers being stopped annually, many for the vague reason of "acting furtively."

"Furtive movement is a general catch-all for certain behavior deemed suspicious based on time , setting and context and other factors we have," Inspector Kerry Sweet, NYPD attorney, said.

It's not the training that critics say is the problem, rather the policy. A policy that puts tremendous pressure on officers to make stop and frisk quotas which leads they say to massive numbers of people being stopped without any real reasonable suspicion they did anything wrong.

"Stop and frisks have skyrocketed to 700-thousand, yet they claim at the same time that crime is down 80percent. You can't have that. This is completely an untenable position. If crime is down 80-percent how are you finding 700,000 suspects to frisk?" Prof. John Eterno, a former NYPD captain, said.

It's unclear how this new training will answer the critics who claim constitutional rights for entire communities have been tossed aside to find a small percentage of guns. However, NYPD Training Commissioner James O'Keefe predicts a change.

"It's our belief this training will lead to a drop in the number of stops and increase the quality of stops," O'Keefe said.

Last year, about 685,000 people were stopped by police. About half were frisked. The majority of those stopped were black and Hispanic. Critics say the policy unfairly targets minorities.

A federal judge has given class-action status to a lawsuit against the department.

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