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Bratton Aims to Stay Step Ahead of Watchdogs

October 05, 2015  | 

Photo: NYPD Facebook
Photo: NYPD Facebook

On the same day the inspector general for the police issued a report detailing deficiencies in how force is defined and tracked by the New York Police Department, Commissioner William J. Bratton announced on Thursday that many of the changes called for were already being addressed, reports the New York Times.

It was the latest effort by Mr. Bratton to stay one step ahead of the numerous oversight bodies he has repeatedly said he has had to contend with since returning to New York City for a second stint as commissioner. Before a federal monitor could outline a court-ordered plan for the use of body cameras, the department rolled out a pilot project. At meetings with City Council members, who are considering a variety of police reform proposals this year, Mr. Bratton has testified that, in most cases, police officials were responding to the concerns.

The response announced on Thursday was perhaps the most drastic: ushering in reforms to better track and investigate the use of force, steps that other cities have, in many cases, adopted only after being forced to do so by federal consent decrees.

Mr. Bratton said that reconstructing the rules on use of force and promising a systematic review of each instance of officers’ use of force will help restore trust in the police, particularly among minorities, who have historically borne the brunt of aggressive tactics.

Under the new tracking system, to be put in place early next year, every officer who uses force will have to fill out a Force Incident Report. The new form also includes a section for recording any force used against an officer.

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