Police Transparency Bill May Halt Policing Altogether. Here’s How You Can Help Stop It



In late December, the New York City Council passed the “How Many Stops Act,” legislation that seeks to hamper policing by forcing them to do an extraordinary amount of paperwork for even the most minor of officer-civilian interactions. Mayor Eric Adams, who was a captain in the NYPD before turning to politics, is reportedly planning on vetoing the Act. But his veto will not stop the City Council, as the initial vote passed the veto-proof majority, with 35 of 51 votes. So, this veto will be followed by a movement for citizens to pressure their elected council members to vote against the Act when it comes back up to the Council.

The How Many Stops Act seeks to extend reporting requirements to Level 1 and Level 2 stops, requiring officers to provide information about encounters even when there is no reasonable suspicion of an ongoing crime. The goal is to generate data on whether minorities are disproportionately stopped by the police, fostering transparency and accountability.

This will have the opposite effect of what was intended, as this Act will most likely cease Level 1 and Level 2 encounters altogether, preventing the police from maintaining a proper presence in communities where they are needed most.

Mayor Adams, who prioritized public safety in his 2021 campaign, contends that the bill places undue paperwork burdens on officers, diverting their attention from actual policing. He argues that officers would spend more than three minutes documenting a single Level 1 or Level 2 stop, contradicting assertions by the bill’s author, City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“You’re not going to be on patrol, you’re not going to be on a corner somewhere, with your head down filling out a form,” Adams explained during a briefing at City Hall. “So, I’m telling that police officer, ‘You’re now out of action, you’re going to go in your car and fill out that paperwork.’ That’s what the danger is. And if it was just one time a day, you’re doing that, but no! It’s every encounter you have.”

This bill is the latest attack by the City Council on the NYPD. Members of the Council, especially those who belong to the Democratic Socialists of America (Kristin Richardson Jordan, Tiffany Caban, Alexa Aviles, Shahana Hanif), have led the charge against the police. In the pledge to be a member of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, members had to assert that “We will do everything we can to reduce the size and scope of the NYPD and the Department of Correction, and prioritize and fund alternative safety infrastructure that truly invests in our communities.” This led to an exodus from the caucus of around 15 members, but it seems that the exodus was over fear of backlash, not ideological differences.

This is also a time where the NYPD is facing officer shortages and longer response times. For a brief period at the end of last year, the migrant crisis in New York City looked like it was leading to a five percent budget cut for the NYPD, reducing police academy training. That reduction in training leads to the police interactions that tend to go the most viral on social media, as officers who are improperly trained tend to react poorest in high-stress situations.

This is exactly what the City Council’s progressives want: poorly trained police officers who have no time to interact with the community that it’s supposed to be protecting. Crime statistics are irrelevant regarding police defunding. The City Council is showing how little it cares about the communities they serve when they go after the people that are trying to protect those same communities.

The veto has an uphill battle. Thirty-four votes will allow the Council to override Adams’ veto, and the bill received 35 votes. In order to keep the veto, some of those who voted the first time will have to flip. At least three councilmembers seem willing to flip their votes. That is James Gennaro, Queens District 24 (District24@council.nyc.gov – 212-788-6956), Lynn Shulman (718-544-8800 – District29@council.nyc.gov), and Julie Menin, Manhattan District 5 (212-860-1950 – District5@council.nyc.gov). Anyone interested in contacting their offices to support the veto of this bill should do so immediately, before it’s too late.

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