NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — City lawmakers reached a deal Tuesday to install an inspector general to monitor the New York Police Department, a plan galvanized by outrage over its extensive use of the tactic known as stop and frisk and its widespread spying on Muslims.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn announced the pact on creating a new watchdog for the nation’s biggest police department and said talks were progressing on three companion proposals to set new rules surrounding stop and frisk, including banning racial profiling.
“We came to a very important agreement” on the plan for an inspector general, which would be housed within the city’s existing Department of Investigation, Quinn said by phone Tuesday. The agency that acts as an inspector general for many other arms of the city government, but it historically hasn’t kept tabs on the NYPD.
The IG “will enhance the effectiveness of the department, and at the same time will increase the public’s confidence in the police force,” Quinn said in a statement.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne reacted to the news Tuesday afternoon, saying that “No police department in America has more oversight than the NYPD,” and that “its intelligence investigations are subject to the Federal court-supervised Handschu accord.”
“Each of five separately elected district attorneys has authority to investigate the NYPD, as does each of two United States Attorneys, not to mention the New York State Attorney General, along with the independent Civilian Complaint Review Board and the Mayor’s Commission on Police Corruption,” Browne said in a statement.
IG WON’T BE ‘TOOTHLESS TIGER’
The proposal has been championed by civil liberties advocates and others troubled by some of the department’s practices.
The movement on the measures comes amid a federal trial over the department’s use of stop and frisk, and it follows a series of stories by The Associated Press that revealed how city police systematically listened in on sermons, hung out at cafes and other public places, infiltrated colleges and photographed people as part of a broad effort to prevent terrorist attacks.
The inspector general would have subpoena power, Quinn said.