CREDIT: Associated Press
New York City’s new police commissioner, Bill Bratton, made explicit Thursday that he would scale back the aggressive stop-and-frisk program executed under former commissioner Ray Kelly. He said he and the former commissioner have a “difference of opinion” on the aggressive use of stop-and-frisks, and a program known as “Operation Impact” in particular, which sent new officers into high-crime areas looking for suspicious behavior.
Bratton went so far as to say “many in this department felt there was something wrong, it was just not happening the way it should have. I think we can find the right amount where we have a safe city, and communities and police that respect each other,” according to the Guardian.
“I am quite comfortable that we can have less and achieve the same results,” Bratton said during his swearing in.
Bratton’s comments signal that he will support the stated policy agenda of Mayor Bill de Blasio. De Blasio said during his campaign he would drop the city’s appeal of a ruling finding the NYPD engages in unconstitutional racial profiling in its stop-and-frisks. Bratton has in the past issued a spirited defense of the stop-and-frisk tactic, calling it as essential to policy as chemotherapy is to cancer. But Bratton has also recognized room for abuse and misuse of the tactic, calling it the “the racial profiling issue, if you will, of the 21st century.”
Bratton also said, however, that he would continue Kelly’s counterterrorism program. It’s unclear whether that means he will continue the widespread spying of Muslims uncovered in a series of Associated Press reports. While serving as as police chief in Los Angeles, Bratton did consider a plan to create a map of Los Angeles-area Muslims, but scrapped the initiative after outrage from the Muslim community.