In their latest article on the NYPD’s crime statistics, professors John Eterno and Eli Silverman continue with their critique of the Comp Stat model with quotes from actual NYPD commanders about the drawbacks of the model.
“Commanding officers were allowed to make their own decisions when it first started and then held accountable,” one supervisor writes. “Now all you do is follow someone else’s orders and decisions and still you’re held accountable. NOT FAIR.”
Comp Stat uses computers to track crime reports and then hold precinct commanders accountable for crime conditions in their areas and for the number of arrests, summonses, and stop and frisks done by their officers.
The model has won many awards and plaudits for the NYPD since it was introduced in 1994, but Eterno, of Molloy College, and Silverman, of John Jay College, have been taking a more critical look at it, and have found flaws in the system.
Expanding on data from a survey of high-ranking supervisors in an article in the journal Professional Issues in Criminal Justice, Eterno and Silverman now include quotations from those anonymous bosses about the drawbacks of Comp Stat.
Keep in mind that these are NYPD captains, deputy inspectors, inspectors and chiefs– men and woman trusted to run precincts and borough commands, detective squads and narcotics units. Some of them are retired. Some are still on active duty.
Writes another supervisor: “The lack of management training to all ranks caused an Us Vs. Them environment.”
Writing about the pressure from the top, a third supervisor writes, “The pressure placed on captains and above was just too much to live with on a long-term basis.”
“For captains and above, high pressure from supervisors to produce ‘impressive’ results so that they look good drives captains out of the department,” a fourth supervisor writes.
Other supervisors described Comp Stat meeting as “abusive.” “There is still too much second guessing,” one writes. “No other department goes through that.”
Another retired supervisors alleges that Comp Stat was a good tool that was used for personal vendettas by some commanders.
“Comp Stat,” another writes, “was a tool of 1PP to elevate/end careers at will.”
Another says, “Compstat=embarrassment in front of peers. NYPD management style is to berate and embarrass subordinates publicly.”
The level of micro-management is another complaint. “The pressure on management leads to micromanaging the sgt and lieutenant ranks which has led to less decision-making at those levels,” a supervisor writes.
And there’s bias as well, he adds. “Often the managers during the Comp Stat process are treated very differently depending on who has been ‘chosen’ to advance at a rapid rate.”
Eterno and Silverman are working on a book about Comp Stat.