[Marxism] NYC top cop: machine guns necessary in future against police killings protests!

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jan 30 10:05:33 MST 2015


NY Times, Jan. 30 2015
N.Y.P.D. Plans Initiatives to Fight Terrorism and Improve Community 
Relations
By J. DAVID GOODMAN

The future of the New York Police Department will include patrol 
officers with more time to visit with community members and learn their 
concerns.

It will also include more high-powered weapons for a new unit of 
specially trained officers focused on patrolling terrorist targets and 
protests.

The twin initiatives, announced by Commissioner William J. Bratton in a 
speech on Thursday, highlighted the tensions in New York City between 
the desire of officials to put a friendlier face on officers’ day-to-day 
interactions with the public, and a rising fear of terrorism by lone actors.

The speech, an annual State of the N.Y.P.D. address to the nonprofit 
Police Foundation, outlined Mr. Bratton’s vision of a police force 
better equipped to respond to big events, and also more understanding of 
local issues in high-crime areas where distrust of officers persists.

“A new patrol model,” he called it during the speech, which also touched 
on a wide range of earlier proposals, from putting stun guns into the 
hands of more officers to replacing aging bulletproof vests and, 
eventually, outfitting the entire patrol force with body cameras.

Improving frayed police-community relations has been Mr. Bratton’s 
mandate since returning last year to lead the department. Small efforts 
to that end have been underway since, even as the death of Eric Garner 
after an arrest on Staten Island in July deepened the divide. Rookie 
officers in the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, for example, have been 
tasked with making — and tracking — their local contacts. In other parts 
of the city, officers this week gave out movie tickets to young people 
for a showing of “Selma.”

Among the most specific changes detailed by Mr. Bratton on Thursday, 
however, was the creation of a heavily armed unit to patrol areas of the 
city and respond to large-scale events, such as protests or terrorist 
attacks. Those duties are now often performed by officers drawn from 
precincts across the city who are temporarily assigned to terrorist 
targets, such as Times Square.

The new unit, to be made up of roughly 350 officers and to be called the 
Strategic Response Group, will be created in the coming months, Mr. 
Bratton said. Officers assigned to it would be equipped with heavy 
protective gear and machine guns, and receive advanced training in 
counterterrorism tactics and “advanced disorder control,” he said.

“It is designed for dealing with events like our recent protests or 
incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris,” Mr. Bratton said, 
referring to the terrorist attacks in India in 2008 and in France this 
month, both carried out by small groups of men wielding assault rifles.

The Police Department’s Emergency Service Unit has long handled many 
assignments requiring special weapons and tactics, but after the Sept. 
11 attacks, the department also created heavily armed units known as 
Hercules teams.

Plans for the new unit drew immediate criticism from some police reform 
advocates.

It is “the opposite of progress,” Priscilla Gonzalez, organizing 
director of Communities United for Police Reform, said in a statement, 
to have “a more militarized police force that would use counterterrorism 
tactics against protesters.”

In his speech, Mr. Bratton also said the department would test out a 
“highly localized neighborhood policing plan” in four precincts — two in 
Manhattan, two in Queens — in which officers focus on small sections of 
neighborhoods and are given more time to do so, without having to worry 
about responding to emergency calls.

Mr. Bratton said he would reduce the number of patrol officers who 
currently find themselves either in specialty roles or “running from 
call to call” in a department that, he said, “does not have enough 
police officers.” Instead, he said, officers would have about a third of 
their day mostly free from the “tyranny” of the radio to focus on local 
crime concerns.

A new challenge for the department will be tracking what officers do 
during that time.

“There needs to be a way to measure effective community policing 
practices,” said Susan Shah of the Vera Institute of Justice, who has 
studied community policing policies nationally.

As an example of what the new patrol model might look like on the 
street, Mr. Bratton drew from his own experience the day before: As he 
was getting his shoes shined, he observed a group of men, with “their 
booze stuffed in the two phone booths,” who were harassing people 
outside the shop, he told reporters after the speech.

Mr. Bratton directed officers from his security detail to call the local 
precinct. Soon, two of the men were under arrest.

It was a quintessential moment of “broken windows” policing by the 
commissioner who has championed the strategy, which has come under 
criticism for its focus on minor disorder as the best way to prevent 
major crime.

“This is the heart of community policing,” he said.

A manager at the shop at Columbus Circle, Dino’s Shoe Repair, said Mr. 
Bratton made the call without any prompting.

“The men outside are a big problem,” said the manager, Maria Kounavis, 
who added that they were back again on Thursday. “We’re grateful, even 
if it was for one night.”



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