On Jan. 30, New York City Council voted overwhelmingly against Mayor Eric Adams’ veto of the controversial “How Many Stops Act” which will compel members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) to document and report practically every interaction they have with the public.
The council also voted to override Adams’ veto of another bill which sought to ban solitary confinement in New York City jails.
Adams, who in recent weeks fought hard against the “How Many Stops Act” being passed, said in a statement following the 42-9 vote that “these bills will make New Yorkers less safe on the streets, while police officers are forced to fill out additional paperwork rather than focus on helping New Yorkers and strengthening community bonds.”
“Additionally, it will make staff in our jails and those in our custody less safe by impairing our ability to hold those who commit violent acts accountable,” he said.
With the passing of the act, NYPD officers will now have to record the “apparent” race, gender and age of practically every individual they interact with.
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Adams, a former NYPD captain, has been adamant that the bill will overburden officers with unnecessary paperwork and will slow down investigations.
According to the New York Post, Paul DiGiacomo, president of the NYPD Detectives Endowment Association said that the override of Adams’ veto “is one more step toward the city council goal: Destroy the world’s best police department.”
“Thanks to politicians, the divide between the police and citizens will grow. And so will retirements of our best, most experienced detectives. Heartbreaking.”
The act is scheduled to come into effect this June.
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Police-community relations to become ‘frayed’
Recently, John Chell, NYPD Chief of Patrol said during an interview on WABC 770 AM that the act will cause police-community relations to become “frayed.”
“It’s going to take a toll there [on] our response time to calls for service … There’s an overtime concern now,” he said. “We have to discuss this further [with the council]. Maybe we can come to a compromise. We’re hoping.”
Proponents of the act, including Speaker Adrienne Adams and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, argue that the increased reporting requirements will hold officers accountable for unlawful stops and address racial profiling.
Adams went to great lengths to squash the act, going so far as to convince eight council members to join him on an “eye-opening” NYPD ride-along in Harlem and the South Bronx this past Saturday night (Jan. 27).
However, it was not enough to sway council.
Eric Dinowitz, the Democrat Councilman for the Bronx, went on the ride-along with Adams but still voted against his veto.
“This bill does not significantly add to their administrative tasks,” Dinowitz said, adding that an NYPD officer told him that they already have to fill out “two, three documents for a single incident.”
He said officers regularly take notes in the field and then transcribe them into a computer later. “One officer shared with me that as recently as 2012, he was using a typewriter,” he said.
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Police officers need support
Susan Zhuang, a Democrat councilwoman for Brooklyn, said that many of her constituents “want to support police officers.”
“In my district, one in three people have experienced hate [crimes],” she said.
Zhuang’s district has a large Asian population.
Another Democrat, Bob Holden who serves Queens and who was among the three Democrats supporting Adams’ veto said the act is asking already overworked NYPD officers to do more in an understaffed department, and argued that the act will “delay critical response,” and that “This is going to tie the hands of police officers, which is the intent here.”
Despite personal calls to different Councilmembers, and a ride-along, several council insiders still accused Adams of not doing enough to ensure his veto stood.
One council source told the NY Post, “If the mayor can’t take 10 minutes out of his day to call members, I’m wondering how serious he is about this.”
Meanwhile, Adams says he wants to work with the council and the NYPD to determine how the bills will be applied.
“With these bills set to become law, I remain willing to partner with my colleagues in the City Council to address New Yorkers’ concerns in the period leading up to implementation,” Adams said.