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One reason that cars are short: The precinct always loses a car to Commissioner Ray Kelly's "Critical Response" program. Those entail a line of cop cars that drive around Manhattan with their lights flashing.
The Voice asked professors John Eterno of Molloy College and Eli Silverman of John Jay College about the effect of the staffing problems combined with the pressures of the job. They said that demanding increased arrests with fewer officers is a recipe for disaster.
"The public has been led to believe that the NYPD can 'do more with less,' " Silverman says. "But the public has been sold a bill of goods. By trying to do the same things with so many fewer officers, the department is in the midst of an enormous balancing act. Something's got to give. I don't think they can keep it up without additional funding."
They believe the increase in stop-and-frisks is driven by the department's obsession with its statistics program, CompStat. "The more 250s he has at those locations will help him get through those meetings," Eterno says. "Should they be focused on the numbers? It should be based on reasonable suspicion."
Silverman adds, "Supporters of the practice assert they are targeted, but the vast majority are for furtive movements. That hardly seems to be a targeted approach."
The precinct commander, they said, is likely repeating the message he got at CompStat meetings with bosses. "He's probably not being treated that well at CompStat, and he's probably treating his officers the same way. This is a culture of policing that has developed."
The commander is emulating a culture attempting to motivate its people through fear, rather than rewards, Eterno says. "This management by fear seems to be cultivated at CompStat, and it emanates throughout the department," he says.
In the next installment of "The NYPD Tapes," we'll examine the story of Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, his career, what led him to begin carrying a digital recorder, how he tried to report questionable activities in the precinct, and how his career effectively ended on the word of a deputy chief who was sitting on Schoolcraft's bed. The first installment of this series is here.