NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Tuesday marked day one on the job for the NYPD’s new watchdog.
Philip Eure, 52, a former federal prosecutor who has monitored police in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade, was named as the department’s first-ever inspector general in March.
His newly formed division of the city Department of Investigation will have a staff of 50, including investigators, lawyers and analysts.
The independent watchdog post was created last year by the City Council in response to rising concerns over the NYPD’s use of “stop and frisk” and its extensive surveillance of Muslims, as disclosed in stories by The Associated Press. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg had opposed the position, but the council overrode his veto.
Bloomberg and other critics of the law establishing the inspector general had argued that it would replicate the role of the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau and the Civilian Complaint Review Board.
DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, who appointed Eure to the $193,788-a-year position, insisted that inspector general’s office had a much broader mandate. He said it will use input from internal affairs, the CCRB and others “to study the big picture, identify patterns of concerns and come up with real-world policing solutions.
“The IG is there for many reasons, but I think the backdrop in which the decision was made by the council — again one piece of legislation I supported — was a moment in our history when unfortunately there were tensions between police and community in many neighborhoods and we had to overcome it,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.
De Blasio praised Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and the NYPD for improving relations.
“Commissioner Bratton and his team have done an extraordinary job, I think the men and women of the NYPD have done an extraordinary job and community leaders have reached out to them, too,” de Blasio said. “Something very good is happening at the neighborhood level.”
The mayor stressed the inspector general’s role “has to do with policy investigations, not the average cop on the street,” WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported.
“The IG is there to look at the policies and the overall work of the NYPD to see those things that we have to do better and I think oversight is a good thing in government,” de Blasio said. “Another set of eyes on the situation always help.”
Meanwhile, political activists want Eure to force the department to disclose the details and costs of a surveillance program targeting left-wing groups. Representatives of the groups delivered a written complaint on Tuesday to the inspector general’s Manhattan office.
The Associated Press disclosed in 2012 that the NYPD sent undercover officers to meetings of liberal political organizations and kept intelligence files on activists who planned protests.
A police spokesman said Tuesday that the department hadn’t seen the complaint. He says the department would cooperate with any inquiry by the inspector general.
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