Therapists often say that the presenting problem is not the real issue. The surface is a symptom of the deeper issue. When the police turned their back on the mayor at Officer Ramos’s funeral, they expressed their dislike for him and his statements. However, their actions show a deeper issue the struggle to reform the NYPD. The media have focused on the surface issue. The deeper issue, the desired reform, has received some attention, but it has not been explored in detail that connects it to the budget and the Mayor’s vision for NYC. The desired reform has three broad and connected parts. The first is improved accountability. The second is affordability. The third is enhanced capability.
The public want the NYPD to be accountable. After Eric Garner’s death, the calls for police reform increased. The demand is not new. What is new is that technology allows for better accountability either through police body cameras or through social media such as public videos. However, it more than technology that allows for greater accountability. The data systems that improve police capacity also improve the way the public can hold the police to account. The improved HR computer systems allow the “problem officers” to be identified.
New York can no longer afford the world’s largest police force. All American cities have faced the same problem, but NYC has been slow to respond. The financial issue is wages with increased healthcare costs and the pension costs. The city has to cut police numbers and the police union want to protect those jobs.
The numbers tell the story.[9
|Population||All Law Enforcement Employees||Total Officers||Employees / 10K Pop.||Officers / 10K Pop.|
If we compare NYC to other cities, the difference is stark. NYPD has the largest work force. If the Mayor is to provide other services that the public want, the police budget has to be reduced. The goal is to cut police numbers without reducing police effectiveness. To this end, three areas will be developed technology, improved data and community policing.
Improved capacity and better community policing
The City wants to improve policing with technology. The technology will help the police to target resources effectively. The technology creates data. In turn, the data helps the police measure how their resources are used and whether that use is effective. The NYPD relies on increased surveillance, like others, to cut its work force and increase capacity. The data and technology also provides accountability. Accountability is improved by HR systems that help to find “problem officers”. (see footnote 5) The improved accountability helps to improve community relations. Improved community relations make community policing possible. The term refers to the improved relationship between community and the police. When it is successful, it strengthens the community’s ability to govern itself. One result is the need for fewer police officers.
The struggle for NYC’s future: the Mayor or the NYPD?
The three goals reinforce each other and create the vision for a new NYPD. However, do the Mayor and the NYPD share this vision? The Mayor and the NYPD are fighting a public battle to influence the public opinion on this vision. The winner will decide NYC’s future.
 De Blasio’s advice to his son is not the presenting problem. His candid remarks have been used to fuel police outrage, but they are not the source of the problem. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/de-blasio-details-talk-son-dealing-cops-article-1.2036870
 The budget figures that cause concern are the healthcare costs and the pension costs. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/19/opinion/david-brooks-the-union-future.html?_r=0 One has to note that Mayor Bloomberg had the same conflict with the NYPD at the end of his term. See for example http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20110318/manhattan/budget-cuts-would-shrink-police-fire-smallest-size-decade-researchers-say
 Consider that NYC now has its first ever police inspector general. http://changethenypd.org/news/priorities-first-ever-nypd-inspector-general see also http://www.nyc.gov/html/oignypd/pages/home/home.shtml
 The NY Civil Liberties Union has made these calls. http://www.nyclu.org/issues/due-process-and-justice/police-accountability-and-criminal-justice-reform-campaigns
 The desire for accountability is also behind the use of data to track problem cops. http://www.wnyc.org/story/can-the-nypd-spot-the-abusive-cop/
 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/nyregion/de-blasio-new-york-budget.html A cynic might argue that de Blasio is creating a budget deficit to strengthen his hand in forcing the police cuts.
 The problem is the same across the United States. Since 2008 local governments have had to reduce their police costs. They have done this through a number of measures and NYC has been slower to make these cuts because of the institutional political power the police union have developed over the years. http://cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/Publications/e101113406_Economic%20Impact.pdf
 See the proposed staffing levels for the city over the next three years. http://www.nyc.gov/html/omb/downloads/pdf/nov14_stafflevels.pdf
 Here is the top 5 cities in terms of total law enforcement employees.
|City||Population||All Law Enforcement Employees||Total Officers||Employees / 10K Pop.||Officers / 10K Pop.|
The issue is more than CCTV, it is the way technology can be used to assist traditional policing as a force multiplier. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/21/us-usa-ny-surveillance-idUSBRE95K0T520130621 For an example from the United Kingdom consider http://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Police%20technology%20report%20-%20Final%20version.pdf for a general review of public surveillance consider http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e071112381_EvalPublicSurveillance.pdf
 Here is how community policing is defined. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Publications/e030917193-CP-Defined.pdf Consider this article on the early attempt in the 1990s to implement it. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/08/08/nyregion/study-criticizes-community-policing.html This was augmented by further events that wanted to improve police community relations. http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/nypolice/ch3.htm By 2013 the idea had returned in a different guise because technology and data made it possible to implement. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/08/22/how-the-next-mayor-should-deal-with-crime-in-new-york/return-to-community-policing
 See for example, http://www.nij.gov/journals/266/Pages/predictive.aspx