Theory: If Cops Are More Polite, Professional Residents More Inclined To Assist

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has a plan to improve police-community relations.

It includes asking officers to address people as “sir” or “ma’am,” be patient and avoid such things as gum chewing and using a cellphone, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported Thursday.

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“Step one is – whenever possible, whenever it makes sense – the officer politely introduces himself and provides name and rank,” de Blasio said to police officers and reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer.

De Blasio addressed roll call at the 25th Precinct in Harlem, just prior to unveiling a new training program for recruits to help them get along better with the community.

“The notion here is to start on the road to a different kind of communication,” de Blasio said.

Many parts of the program seem like common sense, but officials say it’s born out of a concept called “Ambassadors of the NYPD.” Some could call it “Miss Manners schools the cops.”

Under the program all new recruits will be taught to:

* Address people as “sir” or “ma’am”

* Avoid drinking, smoking, gun chewing and cellphone use when on a call

* Be an active listener, make eye contact with the person speaking

* Keep an open mind

* Be patient

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* Be knowledgeable

* And end on a positive note

The new program comes on the heels of the decision to sharply curtail stop-and-frisk arrests to better improve police-community relations and restore community trust in the NYPD.

“I think there will be additional opportunities to regain respect where we’ve lost it and gain it where we may never have had it in the first place,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said.

“We injure very few people in this city in the course of making arrests and interacting with them. But we do tend to injure an awful lot of people through out language,” Bratton told Lehpamer.

To stress the value the NYPD places on good community relations the mayor presented a citation to local resident Dale Green, a Good Samaritan who witnessed a sexual assault and called 911. Officials said his actions helped catch the suspect.

The mayor also applauded the quick action by residents to help catch the suspect who allegedly shot a police officer in Crown Heights on Wednesday, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.

“That partnership is invaluable. That partnership is irreplaceable,” de Blasio said. “I want a city where if something goes wrong, citizens are going out of their way to tell the police exactly what happened. Tell them where the perpetrator is, where the weapon is.”

Both the mayor and the police commissioner told Kramer that if a “Miss Manners” approach works, people will try to help the cops.

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