NEW YORK (77 WABC) — In the wake of protests after the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis, the NYPD is at a crossroads with calls from overhauls and defunding.
Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison spoke to WABCRadio.com about the tense time.
“It’s a tough time. But the NYPD, we’re very resilient. A lot of people are finding negativity within this organization, but we’re going to continue to fight the good fight to keep us a safe city.”
Part of that good fight means dealing with change. Mayor de Blasio announced more measures from releasing body cam video to faster disciplinary decisions. Harrison said transparency is needed for trust within the communities more than ever.
City Council leaders have until the end of the month to pass forward a defunding package that would remove $1 billion from the NYPD. Money would be used, in part, to help youth in communities with high-crime rates and gangs.
“There was a very nasty incident that happened in Minnesota, but NYPD shouldn’t be affected by that,” Harrison said. “Defunding our organization for something that happened across the country, I think is unfair.”
But he agreed that getting money to youth organizations will help proactively combat crime.
“One of things that we’re seeing throughout the city is a lot of violence is occurring because of the gang violence, crew violence,” Harrison said.
Harrison, who started in the department in 1992, said they are already doing a lot of that with their neighborhood policing strategy.
Commissioner Dermot Shea didn’t wait for reforms or defunding in announcing the Anti-Crime Unit is disbanded and the 600 plainclothes officers are getting shifted to other divisions. He said Monday they need to police with brains and guile and move away from brute force.
“These officers that were doing great work in regards to bringing down the violence, in the process, sometimes there might have been a little bit too much physical contact,” Harrison admitted. “In this climate, right now, maybe we want to take a step back, maybe go with a different strategy.”