NYPD unveils 7-step new training protocols

February 27, 2014 5:56:52 PM PST
The New York Police Department unveiled new, "common-sense" training protocols aimed at improving relations with communities that feel alienated by the police stop-and-frisk practice.

The seven-step guidelines, announced Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton, are remarkably simple.

Step one: Whenever possible, whenever it makes sense, the officer politely introduces himself and provides name and rank.

Step two: Actively listen and attentively listen to the people they're encountering.

Step three: Keep an open mind about the information they're receiving.

Step four: Be patient with the people they are serving. Mayor de Blasio said, "We're talking about every kind of circumstance. And we know there's a difference between an urgent and an emergency circumstance and an everyday encounter. We believe it's so important for our officers to have the opportunity to hear deeply what people are telling them, including if they happen to come from a different background, a different culture, have a different first language."

Step five: Know the resources the NYPD, and other agencies, that would be available to help people with their problems.

Step six: Make every reasonable effort to address the needs of the people that have asked for help.

Step seven: Make sure every encounter, whenever possible, ends on a positive note so people know that they have been served with that respect.

The goal is to improve the level of trust between police officers and the neighborhoods they patrol, which should lead to improved morale and a new willingness for civilians to cooperate with police and provide crime-stopping tips, de Blasio said.

"That partnership is invaluable, that partnership is irreplaceable, and that partnership is what we aim to create in every neighborhood," de Blasio said.

De Blasio said he believes the NYPD stop-and-frisk tactic that allows police to question people deemed suspicious, strained relations with minorities. Critics of the practice, which the mayor has vowed to reform, believe it unfairly targets blacks and Latinos.

"We have to repair that rift," de Blasio said.

Supporters, which include ex-Mayor Michael Bloomberg, believe stop-and-frisk drives down crime. Its use has declined in New York in recent years even before de Blasio took office in January.

The new protocols were tested in a few precincts late last year, officials said. They will be taught to all rookies coming through the NYPD police academy and will later be disseminated to all 34,000 officers.

Bratton, who called the plan "common sense," warned that police "injure a lot of people with our language" and suggested that even veteran officers would benefit from the new guidelines. It is one of the first major policy initiatives unveiled by Bratton, who returned this year to head a police department that he led for two years under former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 1990s. Raymond Kelly was police commissioner the last 12 years.

(Some information from the Associated Press)

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