Today, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced a new partnership with Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League; Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies; and Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, to engage communities and people who live, work and serve throughout the city in the Department’s ongoing effort to ensure public safety that is fair, responsive to, and considerate of all New Yorkers.
Together, in partnership with the Mayor’s office, they announced a Department-wide undertaking to transform New York City Policing to be safer and fairer for all concerned, beginning with the launch of eight community meetings in all five boroughs over the next four weeks as a springboard to collect input critical to transformation. This joint effort between Commissioner Shea, Mayor de Blasio, and these advisors will respond to and extend beyond Governor Cuomo’s New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative.
“With a sustained focus over the last nearly seven years, NYPD leaders have worked to reinforce our basic mission of keeping people safe while building trust with the New Yorkers we serve,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “In law enforcement, if you are not striving to improve, then you should not be in this line of work. This new effort, with these critical partners, is vital to making the Police Department stronger, fairer and more transparent. I am grateful to Arva, Jennifer and Wes and look forward to the work ahead.”
“The NYPD is fundamentally different than it was nearly seven years ago. By working with New Yorkers we have strengthened the bond between community and police for good,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “But we know there is always more work to do to repair trust and address historical inequities. I am proud to work with Commissioner Shea and our partners to make sure every New Yorker on every block feels the safety they deserve.”
“This year our city and our nation faced a health, economic and a criminal justice crisis paving the way for reflection and reform. We have a moral imperative to work to make sure that community voices are heard and New Yorkers feel safe and respected no matter the neighborhood that they reside,” said Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League. “The Statewide and mandated “Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative” is a welcome opportunity to engage in this process learning from New Yorkers as well as experiences and practices around the country. Working with Commissioner Shea, NYPD, the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, and my colleagues is a role I take with great responsibility and commitment to create recommendations that can truly improve our great city.”
“Every New Yorker should feel confident that they can move about New York City with the assurance that our police officers are concerned with protecting them, and with treating them fairly should they find themselves interacting with the NYPD for whatever reason,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO & Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “I am eager to work with Commissioner Shea and my colleagues to ensure that all voices, and especially Blacks, Browns and other persons of color, as well as persons experiencing poverty and health challenges, are heard and embraced as critical reforms centered on keeping all New Yorkers safe and supported are designed and implemented.”
“Despite past police reform efforts, the people of New York City – and particularly our communities of color – have continued to express frustration about being over-policed and the need for further reform. The statewide and mandated ‘Reform and Reinvention Collaborative’ is a vital process to bridge the gap in trust between too many of our New Yorkers and the NYPD,” said Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood. “It is with great humility and responsibility that I step into this role to ensure that the community is at the center of the discussion around how we move forward to reimagine the way our neighborhoods are kept safe.”
2020 has been a year of racial reckoning for the nation, and particularly for law enforcement across the country. For the last nearly seven years of the de Blasio administration, the NYPD has been making fundamental changes in policing, including building strong relationships through Neighborhood Policing and drastically reducing the level of enforcement by focusing resources on the drivers of violence through Precision Policing. The NYPD has also reformed its training, disciplinary procedures and use of force policies to increase transparency and fairness.
However, Commissioner Shea, NYPD leadership and the Mayor’s office appreciate that there is a lot more to do to both address and heal rifts between the NYPD and the people we serve, and to forge a new path forward that is fair, transparent and responsive. These community-based forums will serve as an important next step in increasing transparency and receiving key input on NYPD’s policies and practices. The participation of community members throughout the city, particularly those where relationships with the NYPD have been tense and strained is a must. The NYPD recognizes that we must actively engage, listen and respond to their questions and concerns.
Following these forums there will be ongoing engagement of NYPD officers and employees with community leaders and diverse stakeholders as we work together to make the city the safest and fairest it can be for everyone.
Commissioner Shea is collaborating with these co-sponsors, all of whom possess deep knowledge and expertise in addressing issues of inequity. Rice, Moore and Jones Austin will play a critical role in the creation of a concrete and tangible plan that supports the Commissioner’s vision of fair policing and is aligned with the State’s Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative outlined in Executive Order 203 which established a criteria including public comment as well as a process led in partnership with the Mayor’s office. This plan will be submitted to the state by April 01, 2021.
There will be eight sessions, one in each NYPD patrol borough. Each meeting will be two hours, from 07:00 p.m. to 09: p.m., in an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant location with access to public transportation. In-person attendance will be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Forums will be live-streamed to maximize participation. Video of each meeting will be posted on the NYPD’s YouTube channel for later viewing. The vast majority of time at each meeting will be spent listening to comments and questions from community participants. Public feedback will also be sought through a survey that will be distributed at the forums and online. Input from members of the Police Department will also be solicited through departmental communications.
The NYPD recognizes the State’s call to action to improve all police departments around New York State. Across New York City, the NYPD, as well as community and advocacy groups and law enforcement partners have been engaged in the ongoing work of improving the criminal justice system to make it more fair and responsive to New Yorkers. There has been a lot of work prior to these new efforts and the commitment of the NYPD and people in the community have played an essential role in the progress achieved thus far. During this process, representatives from City Hall and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice will work with the NYPD and the co-sponsors/advisors as the plan of action is compiled. For more information, please visit here.
Schedule of Meetings
- Wednesday, October 14 in Staten Island;
- Friday, October 16 in northern Queens;
- Monday, October 19 in southern Queens;
- Wednesday, October 21 in the Bronx;
- Friday, October 23 in northern Brooklyn;
- Monday, October 26 in southern Brooklyn;
- Wednesday, October 28 in northern Manhattan;
- Friday, October 30 in southern Manhattan.
Arva Rice – President & CEO of the New York Urban League
Arva Rice heads an organization whose mission is to enable African American and other underserved communities to secure a first-class education, economic self-reliance and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, service and advocacy. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, Commissioner for the NYC Equal Employment Practices Commission, a member of the Women’s Forum, on the Board of Trustees of First Corinthians Baptist Church and the Greater New York Chapter of the Links Incorporated.
Jennifer Jones Austin — CEO & Executive Director of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
An attorney and author, Jennifer Jones Austin heads FPWA, an anti-poverty, policy and advocacy organization with more than 150 members and partners. She has led and secured significant changes in social policy and law in New York State to strengthen and empower those who are disenfranchised and marginalized. Co-host of WBLS’ Open Line and weekly guest host on Keep’n It Real with Rev. Al Sharpton and the Karen Hunter Show, she currently serves as a board member of the National Action Network, Chair of the NYC Board of Correction, and Advisor to the Feerick Center for Social Justice.
Wes Moore – CEO of Robin Hood
A bestselling author, Army combat veteran and social entrepreneur, Wes Moore leads one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. Raised in Baltimore, MD, and in the Bronx, he graduated from Valley Force Military College and Johns Hopkins University and earned a MLitt in International Relations from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He served as a captain and paratrooper with the U.S. Army’s 82ndAirborne Division, including a combat deployment to Afghanistan, and then as a White House Fellow to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.