The stolen car complaint became an unlawful use of a motor vehicle, Schoolcraft said.

In another incident, an elderly man walked in off the street to report that someone had broken the lock on the cash box in his apartment and had stolen $22,000. When he reported the incident at another precinct, he was told that it was a "civil matter" and to call 3-1-1, the city's complaint hotline.

The desk sergeant told Schoolcraft to send the victim back to the other precinct because he was "loopy."

Chad Griffith
At 1.7 square miles, the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the smallest in the city, but the densely populated neighborhood is also a rough place to work. One cop there recently told us, “It keeps you from getting bored is about all you can say.”
At 1.7 square miles, the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant is one of the smallest in the city, but the densely populated neighborhood is also a rough place to work. One cop there recently told us, “It keeps you from getting bored is about all you can say.”

Details

Follow continuing coverage of the NYPD Tapes here at our Runnin' Scared blog.

The Voice presents excerpts from "The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct," from precinct roll calls between June 1, 2008 and Oct. 31, 2009.



JANUARY 28, 2009
"How Many Superstars and How Many Losers Do You Have"


In this excerpt, the 81st Precinct commander, a lieutenant and a sergeant talk about the constant pressure from bosses, and push cops to "get their numbers."


JUNE 12, 2008
"The Hounds are Coming"


Precinct supervisors talk about a specific "numbers" quota, warn cops to pick up their numbers, or else, and complain about outside inspections.


SEPTEMBER 1, 2009
"Just Knock It Off, All Right? We're Adults"


In this roll call, a supervisor tells officers to stop drawing penises in each other's memo books and drawing graffiti on the walls. There's also an extended speech on the virtues of personal hygiene.


SEPTEMBER 26, 2009
"This Is Crunch Time"


The pressure for "numbers" (summonses, arrests, stop and frisks and community visits) was worst at the end of each month and the end of each quarter because that's when individual officers had to file their activity reports. In other words, stay away from cops after the 25th of the month.


OCTOBER 4, 2009
"It's Not About Squashing Numbers"


In this roll call, precinct supervisors order officers to be skeptical about robbery victims, and tell the cops that the precinct commander and two aides call victims to question them about their complaints.

OCTOBER 12, 2009
"How Do We Know This Guy Really Got Robbed?"


Police officers are supposed to take crime complaints, but in this roll call, a sergeant tells cops not to take robbery complaints if the victim won't immediately return to speak with detectives. She questions the victim's motives, too.

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The Voice asked a retired detective about this incident. If it had been handled properly, he replied, someone would have checked his apartment for signs of a burglary. "Even if they don't believe the guy, it's still a crime," the ex-detective says. "You take the report. The detectives investigate it. They determine whether he was lying."

Among many other incidents Schoolcraft discussed were:

* A man walked in to report that he was choked unconscious and robbed of his wallet. He left with a slip that would allow him to renew his driver's license. Then, a detective came down and said, "If that guy comes back, don't let him upstairs."

* Another downgraded robbery from October 23, 2008: Two officers responded to a robbery and found a guy beaten up and bleeding. A lieutenant responded to the scene and said, "We can't take this robbery." It came in as a lost property.

Schoolcraft says he contacted the victim, who sent him a written statement detailing what had happened.

By the end of the meeting, Schoolcraft seems to have their attention. "I'm not looking to burn anyone," he tells the investigators. "What this is doing is it's messing with the officers. They're losing track of what's real and what's not real, what their duties are and what their duties aren't."

The investigators are heard pledging a thorough examination of the precinct's crime reports. "We're very serious about this, and we will do a thorough investigation," an Inspector H. says. "That, I can promise you." Later, he adds, "Personally, I appreciate you coming in and bringing this to our attention. I know it's not an easy thing to do."

After the meeting ends, a supervisor makes a couple of other off-handed comments to Schoolcraft, noting that the pressure to artificially lower crime statistics is fueled by the bosses downtown. "The mayor's looking for it, the police commissioner's looking for it . . . every commanding officer wants to show it," he says. "So there's motivation not to classify the reports for the seven major crimes. Sometimes, people get agendas and try to do what they can to avoid taking the seven major crimes."

It is unclear what direction the QAD investigation has headed, but a law enforcement source assured the Voice that it is ongoing. The source declined to detail any findings.

Curiously, after questions were raised earlier this year about the 81st Precinct statistics, crime there jumped by 13 percent.

That increase has remained steady, fueled chiefly by a huge 76 percent jump in felony assaults. That jump in assaults is far ahead of the citywide increase of 4.6 percent.

In the 81st Precinct, at least, it appears that assaults are no longer being downgraded since Schoolcraft blew the whistle.

Schoolcraft decided to give the tapes to the Voice out of frustration that his attempts to report questionable activities went largely ignored within the NYPD. Instead of the department acting on his complaints, he says, he was subjected to retaliation by precinct and borough superiors.

Three weeks after his meeting with QAD investigators, on October 31, Schoolcraft felt sick and went home from work. Hours later, a dozen police supervisors came to his house and demanded that he return to work. He declined, on health grounds. Eventually, Deputy Chief Michael Marino, the commander of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, which covers 10 precincts, ordered that Schoolcraft be dragged from his apartment in handcuffs and forcibly placed in a Queens mental ward for six days.

Today, he lives upstate, north of Albany, and is still hoping that the department will take his concerns seriously.

THE VOICE SHOWED TRANSCRIPTS OF the roll calls to Eterno, the Molloy College professor who has, in the past, testified for the NYPD as an expert witness, and Eli Silverman, a John Jay College professor who wrote a 1999 book on NYPD crime fighting strategies that was well received in the department.

Earlier this year, Eterno and Silverman published a survey of retired NYPD supervisors, more than 100 of whom said the intense pressure to show crime declines led to manipulation of crime statistics. (That survey was roundly attacked by the NYPD, the mayor's office, and some commentators.)

"These tapes are an independent source of data that supports just about everything we found," Eterno said, speaking for both professors. "You're seeing relentless pressure, questionable activities, unethical manipulation of statistics. We've lost the understanding that policing is not just about crime numbers, it's about service. And they don't feel like they're on the same team. They are fighting each other. It's, 'How do I get through this tour, making a number, without rocking the boat?' "

"The pressure comes from the commanding officer, because of CompStat, and you're seeing the sergeants and lieutenants trying to deal with it and translate it into actionable terms."

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8 comments
fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

Adrian Schoolcraft is an honourable man. Much respect.

smcelveen1
smcelveen1

If a police officer can't write 25 tickets in a month, particularly in New York, he's not doing his job. He's lazy.

H8dogma
H8dogma

Rock Star Adrian!  Many other cities need an Adrian.  Problem is, many cops see no problem with a policy as described above.

cinesimonj
cinesimonj

@smcelveen1  In other words, you've never been to NY - and you think that all cops work in the bad bits that you see on TV.

 
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