Cops and community pan City Council’s ‘How Many Stops Act’ 

At the 40th Precinct Community Council meeting last Wednesday, a political rarity occurred: everyone agreed that the City Council’s new police law was a bad idea.

The legislation, pushed past a veto from Mayor Eric Adams, requires NYPD officers to provide a more detailed paper trail on their interactions with the public. Its supporters say it will increase police accountability.

Its detractors, including those at the meeting at PS 5 in Port Morris, say it will drown police in unnecessary paperwork.

“Any additional piece of paperwork is going to have some sort of effect on man-power and personnel when responding to jobs,” said NYPD Deputy Inspector Joseph Tompkins, the 40th Precinct’s commanding officer.

His comment drew nods of agreement from the audience, many of whom said they don’t support the new legislation and wanted their city council member to oppose it. The 40th jurisdiction is represented by City Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, who supports the new bill.

A request for comment to Councilwoman Ayala was not immediately returned.

One community member said a motion to repeal the new law should be placed on the ballot in upcoming elections, so voters have a chance to overturn it.

The council president urged those attending to vote out elected officials who do not reflect the interests of the community.

The legislation, Introduction 586-A, requires NYPD officers to report all investigative encounters – even ones deemed insignificant, or “low level.” Officers have to report on basic investigative interactions, such as asking someone if they have seen a possible suspect in a crime.

Currently, NYPD officers only fill out reports on “level two” and “level three” encounters, when the person they are talking to is suspected of criminal activity.

Mayor Adams, a former NYPD captain, openly opposed the new law. His veto was overruled by the City Council in an overwhelming 42-9 vote on Jan. 30.

In other business:

  • End-of-the-year crime statistics show that overall crime is up, but the 40th precinct had the biggest decrease in shootings in the city in 2023, according to Deputy Inspector Tompkins. There were 19 fewer shootings last year than recorded in 2022, he said.  The 40th precinct was also responsible for the most gun arrests in the city in 2023.
  • Tompkins also addressed a few recent, high profile crimes in the neighborhood.
    • A man fatally shot his girlfriend at Mill Brook Houses in Port Morris around 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 6. Police said they know the identity of the shooter and are searching for him.
    • A bar fight in Mott Haven early Feb. 3 spilled into the street and resulted in a deadly stabbing. Police said they know the killer, but he is not yet in custody.
    • A 60-year-old man with a long arrest record has been driving a motorbike around and snatching people’s phones and headphones on the street, police said. The police are actively searching for him, but Tompkins urged people in the audience to be aware and warn their friends and family.
  • A representative from Guns Down Life Up, a gun violence intervention and prevention organization associated with Lincoln Hospital, outlined the group’s programs, which are open to anyone between the ages of 9 to 26. The organization said it will also soon be opening a new space for members.

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