We have a new police commissioner in NYC, James O’Neill – a native New Yorker (which is always nice), a seasoned professional, not a psychopath, and seemingly still in touch with his own humanity. These are all good things. Could he change certain negative aspects of the NYPD culture?
Firing the murderer Pantaleo would be a great shout out to the citizens of New York. Then he should fire John Miller (and probably all his hires) and Jonathan David (the head of the NYPD legal bureau and chief blocker of Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests of the NYPD, which he treats with utter contempt. He’s held this position through administrations.).
Internal cultures can only be changed by finding the internal pillars of that culture and exiting them from the organization. Character can’t be changed but consequences for behavior can, and that’s good enough.
This contempt of the law by too many in the department has got to go. They need to be bound by the laws and the constitution. Every officer involved in stop and frisks knows they are unconstitutional (judicial rulings unnecessary), so naturally they think they are above the law, or even wardens in an open air prison. The same with the FOIL process, transparency and legality is considered a joke by too many.
Some changes would have to come from the mayor of course, I’d suggest requiring all officers to sign a waiver of the right to lie in court under oath (Briscoe v. Lahue) as a necessity for employment.
Our new commissioner is in the honeymoon period with the citizens of New York. We all hope for the best.