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EXCLUSIVE: NYPD Changes Policy, Pairs Rookie Officers With Veterans

Commissioner Bratton Explains To CBS 2 The Value Of Properly Learning The Ropes

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is making a big push to bring the city’s rising crime numbers down — and they’re doing it one rookie at a time.

On Tuesday, CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider spoke exclusively with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who outlined his plan.

At the height of the summer, the number of shootings is up 8 percent city-wide from last year. But with a class of 600 cops just graduated from the Police Academy, Bratton is changing things up.

Gone is the practice of putting rookies out on the streets in pairs. Instead, they get a veteran partner to fight crime.

“I had some great partners who really caught me before I started developing bad habits early on in my career,” Bratton said. “I want these young kids as they come out of the academy to have a similar opportunity to learn the right way and if they make a mistake, they have the mistake corrected before the mistake becomes a habit.”

Those rookie cops will be working closely with experienced officers as part of Commissioner Bratton’s new approach to the program, “Operation Impact.”

Precincts will pair veteran cops with the latest academy grads to teach them the ropes.

“I want to be able to teach those guys what I was taught as a rookie,” said Officer Wilson Colon of the 42nd Precinct.

After one year in the elite plain-clothes Anti-Crime Unit, Colon just got back into uniform. He said he did that so he can work closely with the young officers.

Officer Colon, himself, has won praise from the commissioner for taking down a suspect who allegedly shot at Colon and his fellow officers.

“He’s there every day for us,” recent academy graduate Jonathan Baez said of Colon.

Officers Baez and Chris Aybar will work closely under Officer Colon for at least six months. What exactly they’ll be learning the NYPD is keeping under wraps for safety purposes.

But the mentoring helped the young officers, who were on the job for just more than a week, to arrest a man wanted for armed robbery — and arrest him right.

“It’s proof positive of the value of the program,” Bratton said.

“They were congratulating us. To us, we were just doing our job,” Officer Baez said.

Rookies are doing their jobs to help bring crime rates down.

Those rookie officers, along with Officer Colon, were congratulated personally by Commissioner Bratton at Police Headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

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