Diverse Alliance of Organizations Urges CIty Council to Drop Proposal for 1,000 New NYPD Officers

Thu, 04/16/2015
Contact: Mandela Jones
646.214.1031
A group of nearly sixty groups that represent a diverse number of communities across New York City sent a letter to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the City Council to oppose their proposal to increase the NYPD headcount, urging that they instead prioritize vital police reforms and community funding needs.
 
The letter states, “Adding 1,000 new positions within the police department not only raises significant concerns for communities that have yet to see public accountability for the department, but it also would come at the expense of more beneficial long-term investments in the safety and well-being of our neighborhoods.”
 
The letter calls for the Council and City to address fundamental problems with the NYPD’s accountability and culture that allow New Yorkers to continue to be abused, and unjustly targeted and killed, highlighting a more comprehensive definition of public safety.
 
“While there has been a focus on the issue of ‘police-community relations,’ there has not been enough attention paid to addressing the concrete and underlying issues of discriminatory and abusive policing,” the letter continues. “Commissioner Bratton has not substantively addressed many of these problems… to resolve the long-term and complete failure in holding the NYPD accountable in cases of police abuse and brutality.
 
“Without addressing these core issues, the addition of 1,000 new police department positions – to be dispersed throughout our communities that already feel over-policed – threatens to exacerbate these long-standing problems.”
 
At a community town hall meeting in East New York organized by the Brooklyn Borough President just nights ago, residents conveyed their frustrations with discriminatory policing. One woman described that “her 14-year-old son has been stopped by police four times since her family relocated [to the area] a few months ago.” According to a report on the meeting, the community residents’ answer to a question about the idea of adding 1,000 to the NYPD headcount “was a resounding no.”
 
The letter urges that “the City Council not allow these serious issues to be glossed over in the name of ‘community policing’ that is more rhetorical than substantive,” clarifying that “there are many factors that contribute to safety. Adding 1,000 additional personnel to the police department…while underfunding crucial community-based programs and services is not the answer.”
 
In drawing attention to unmet community, human and social service needs, the groups encouraged the Speaker to continue the Council’s leadership in “pioneering funding increases ‎to address critical areas of need for communities.” The collection of organizations offered several areas of funding that should be considered before increasing the NYPD headcount in an enclosed document that accompanied the letter. It highlights unmet needs in youth services, like the Summer Youth Employment Program, housing and homeless services, support for low-income New Yorkers, seniors, CUNY and a variety of other areas.
 
The NYPD has one of the highest officer-to-resident ratios in the country, and more police officers than the total number of police in 45 entire states. The number of NYPD officers rivals the headcount of the entire FBI.
 
The signatories of the letter include community-based and national organizations representing communities of color, legal assistance and advocacy organizations, advocates for LGBTQ, low-income, youth, homeless and immigrant New Yorkers, and social justice groups that represent communities of color.
 
The letter and full list of signatories can be accessed here: http://changethenypd.org/file/letter-opposing-1000-new-nypd-officers
 
 
Full list of signatories:
 
Communities United for Police Reform
Adhikaar
Arab American Association of New York
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys - UAW Local 2325
Audre Lorde Project
BAYAN - USA
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Blacks In Tech/BIT-NYC
Bronx Defenders
Brooklyn Movement Center
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
Center for Constitutional Rights
Center for Popular Democracy
Center on Race, Crime & Justice, at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Coalition for the Homeless
ColorOfChange
Community Voices Heard
Drug Policy Alliance
DRUM South Asian Organizing Center
Equality for Flatbush
Faith In New York
FIERCE
Gay Men's Health Crisis
Girls for Gender Equity
Global Action Project
Good Old Lower East Side
Harm Reduction Coalition
Housing Works
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
Justice Committee
Justice League
Just Leadership
Kairos Center for Religions, Rights & Social Justice
La Fuente, Tri-State Worker & Community Fund
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Legal Aid Society
Make The Road New York
Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
Mekong NYC
Million Hoodies
Mothers On the Move
MuslimARC, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative
NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New York Communities for Change
New York Harm Reduction Educators
Nodutdol for Korean.Community Development
Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights
Peoples Power Assemblies
Picture the Homeless
The Poverty Initiative
Rockaway Youth Task Force
Streetwise & Safe
Ugnayan Youth for Justice and Social Change
UPROSE
Urban Youth Collaborative
VOCAL-NY