man with bicycle, in the rain, rain coat, young man on stool, small hut with signs.

Citing New Laws, NYPD, Police Unions Tell Officers to Exercise Caution When Making Arrests

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NEW YORK — After a slew of new laws were passed in the last month aimed at reining in aggressive policing tactics, police unions in New York City are now instructing officers to wait for a supervisor or call in a specialized unit if someone is resisting arrest. In a July 1 newsletter sent to NYPD officers, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) instructed officers to wait, saying that officers’ jobs have “changed radically over the past few weeks,” citing new laws. Frustrated by an apparent lack of guidance from the city on how officers should comply, the PBA is now demanding clear legal interpretations of how officers can comply with the new laws. “Our job as police officers is simply to carry out [the city’s] directives — and yet we have received no guidance and no training on how we are expected to do our job in this new environment,” the newsletter said. Passed by city council on June 18 as part of a package of six NYPD reform bills, one law in particular which bans officers kneeling on individuals’ backs is particularly controversial.

are with a bruise, tattoo of a palm tree, black shirt, kerchief, earring, short hair

Activists Challenge NYPD Chief Over Cop Cars Hitting Protestors

Activists in New York are challenging NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea’s account of a May 30 incident where police in Brooklyn rammed two patrol cruisers into a crowd of protestors and metal barricades, sending demonstrators flying.

Police approach group holding signs that say black lives matter and no justice no peace

Cities in New York State Take Different Approaches to Calls For Police Change

NEW YORK — After weeks of protest across New York, state and local elected officials are still scrambling to develop plans to divert funding from police departments, and deciding to reallocate the funds toward youth-based social services. 

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order stating funding will be withheld if any local police department — including the New York Police Department — does not implement plans that reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs based on community input, the statement said. In a joint statement released late Friday afternoon, New York City Council leaders, including the co-chairs of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus and Speaker Corey Johnson, announced their intentions to “cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS [Other Than Personal Service, or nonsalary] spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses.”

Johnson had indicated his willingness to support reforms earlier in the week, and expressed frustration that initial budget cuts forced by coronavirus were not sufficient. “As we have said, a less than one percent cut to the NYPD and a 32% cut to Department of Youth and Community Development is not representative of our values and the City Council will not approve a budget that fails to significantly reduce the NYPD budget and start us on a path to bringing structural change and transformational reforms to the police department,” a statement from Johnson’s office said Wednesday. Reallocating the funding is expected to produce a raucous debate among city officials, no matter how much money is taken from the department, with no clear sense of where the money should go. In a statement, the president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) predicted that if the city moved forward with its plan to cut funding, crime could increase as a result.

“For decades, every time a city agency failed at its task, the city’s answer was to take the job away and give it to the NYPD.

Historic marquee of the Paramount Theater on Market Street in Newark, New Jersey.

Trauma for Youth Is Everywhere … But We Can Heal It in Newark

On a sunny afternoon in 2006, I was driving my four sons to a cookout in Newark, N.J., my hometown.
We had stopped at an intersection when a group of teenagers spilled into the street behind us. They were beating another young man, and it wasn’t a game. My sons started yelling, asking what was happening.

4 seated, unhappy-looking young people look at woman in jacket and glasses holding a clipboard who faces them. Man on far left in dark hoodie, jeans gestures to her.

Police in Illinois Are Helping Substance Abusers Get Into Rehab Instead of Arresting Them

Ronald Reagan didn’t start the war on drugs but he did his best to finish it. Law enforcement budgets soared, the jails were packed and the war was carried as far afield as Latin America and Afghanistan.

So it might count as one of history’s minor ironies that here in Dixon, just a few blocks from Reagan’s boyhood home, the local police have called a ceasefire in the war on drugs.