We heard today from City Councilman Peter Vallone in reaction to our NYPD Tapes article. Vallone had strong views on the two central themes of the story. Vallone is the chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, which has oversight responsibility for the Police Department.
First, he says the material in the Voice article about the manipulation of the crime statistics is a “serious concern.” Vallone has been investigating the issue, and has asked retired police officers and the public to come to him with their concerns. He is weighing whether to hold a public hearing on the subject.
“I’ve been coming up with much of the same sort of anecdotal stuff that the Voice article has in it,” he says. “I’m more than happy to speak with anyone who wants to talk about this. I’m looking for concrete, first hand evidence.”
The Voice asked Vallone whether it was time now for an outside agency to audit the NYPD’s crime statistics. “It’s an interesting concept,” he says. “I’m not sure if the comptroller would have the expertise or ability to do that.
Referring to the sharp cuts in the officers the NYPD has undergone, he added, “If these statistics are used to justify the decimation of the police, then they better damn well be accurate.”
“Every one of our cops is being asked to do so much more, and unfortunately, there’s a breaking point,” he says. “The heads of the department say we can do more with less, but then it’s the frontline officers who bear the burden.”
Vallone says, however, that there’s nothing wrong with demanding productivity from officers. “Are there goals? Yes,” he says. “Is there pressure to hit those goals? Absolutely. It’s a good thing to expect the police officer to do a minimal amount of work.”