Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NYPD Inspector General Act and The Mayoral Candidates

Who will watch the watchers?

I've been following the recent news stories about Mayoral candidates debating whether the NYPD should have an IG.  And absolutely, it should.  My favored candidate Bill deBlasio has been outspoken in support of an NYPD Inspector General "with teeth".  From Councilmember Brad Lander's website, here's a few reasons why we need an IG for NYPD:
Why do we need an Inspector General for the NYPD? 
  • Inspectors General are a valuable and standard feature of government agencies.  All federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies (including the CIAFBI, and U.S. Department of Justice) and most NYC agencies (including the NYC Departments of EducationParksHPDFDNY) have an IG. 
  • Inspectors General perform investigations to help ensure agencies are following the law; to identify waste, fraud, and abuse; to find deficiencies in agencies' programs that limit the ability to achieve their mission; to recommend corrective action; and to ensure appropriate transparency and oversight.
  • Decades-long concerns about corruption, as well as more recent concerns about potential civil liberties violations in the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies and the NYPD Intelligence Unit, reveal the need for an NYPD IG.
  • While the Civilian Complaint Review Board and Internal Affairs Bureau investigate individual cases, no mechanism exists to provide for independent, secure investigations to ensure that NYPD policies and procedures are operating effectively and consistently with the law.
  • The Los Angeles Police Department has an IG, and all five of the next-largest municipal police departments have some form of independent oversight with subpoena power.
Chris Quinn claims to support a bill, but has not yet allowed a vote on the act. There is some concern over how robust a bill she supports, given her close ties to Bloomberg and her proposed NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, who both oppose it. 
Other candidates are embarrassing themselves on the issue. John Liu, opposed (though to his credit, also opposes stop and frisk). Bill Thompson made the almost unbelievably stupid suggestion that the proposed IG report to the Police Commissioner.

That's ridiculous alright.  It's also a damning indictment of Thompson's thought processes.  

Not surprisingly, the GOP candidates are opposed.

Given that there is a veto-proof majority in favor of the Inspector General Act, what is Chris Quinn waiting for? 

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