The metropolitan police department for the largest city in the United States is ceasing to function, according to a report in The New York Post.
While the New York Police Department has continued its work of policing dangerous and violent criminal activity, quality of life policing has nearly come to a complete halt when statistics from December 20 to December 30, 2013 are compared with that same period this year.
Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.
Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300.
Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.
Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.
The move is seen by most as a form of protest against the city’s administration, and specifically New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Police blame de Blasio and his ideological allies for inflaming a tense situation after a grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer responsible for the death of Eric Garner.
This “virtual work stoppage,” as The Post called it, is an extension of protests which have been ongoing since the assassination of two police officers on December 20. After those execution-style murders, NYPD officers have literally turned their backs on the mayor when he has appeared before audiences composed of cops.
Well, The New York Times has just about had it with the NYPD’s “snarling sense of victimhood” – a sense they earned when de Blasio emerged hours after the grand jury’s decision, blamed it on racial antipathy despite the presence of numerous African-American members on that panel, and confessed that he had taught his own biracial son to fear the police force he commands.
“With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect,” The Times roared.
By taking the opportunity of de Blasio’s address to police during the funeral of slain Officer Rafael Ramos to protest the mayor, The Times declared that the NYPD had also “turned their backs” on the grieving family of one of their own.
While The Times conceded that “there is some thanklessness to being a cop,” they note that it has “always been that way.”
But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.
The Times closed by noting that de Blasio’s actions speak louder than his words; hiring Commissioner Bill Bratton and increasing the force’s funding suggests that he has “an honest desire to do right” by the NYPD. But The Times places no onus on de Blasio to repair the mistrust he has sown. The present conflict is one that has been simmering since his mayoral campaign, one in which the candidate focused heavily on the supposed evils associated with the policing policy dubbed “Stop and Frisk.”
The Times has a point. The NYPD is aggrieved, and they could end up alienating an otherwise sympathetic public with excessive protests or displays of contempt for the mayor. But The Times has avoided confronting the fact that this air of mistrust is not one that the president of the police union invented. He merely gave voice to the concerns shared by thousands of his organization’s members. It was de Blasio and an intellectual ethos infatuated with the idea that policing creates an incentive for the susceptible to engage in criminality, a ethos in which The Times editorial board is steeped, that inculcated this supposedly toxic sense of victimhood in the city’s police culture.
It takes two to tango, and The Times’ retreat to its ideological corner is not helping anything. Both the NYPD and the mayor need to set aside their pride and find a compromise so that they can get back to doing the work they have chosen: Keeping millions of New Yorkers safe.