NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A former federal prosecutor who has monitored police in Washington, D.C., for more than a decade was named on Friday as the first-ever inspector general of the New York Police Department.
Philip Eure, 52, served for 10 years in the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department before taking over the D.C. Office of Police Complaints. The office investigates misconduct complaints against the Metropolitan Police Department and recommends reforms.
“Providing oversight that enriches police work and fosters greater understanding between law enforcement and the public has been the focus of my career,” Eure said in a statement. “I will ensure that we conduct thorough investigations to effect reform that strengthens this city’s law enforcement efforts and the public’s confidence in its police force.”
Eure begins his oversight in late May. His newly formed division of the city Department of Investigation will have a staff of 50, including investigators, lawyers and analysts.
“After more than two decades of law enforcement and police accountability work, I have learned that independent review of a city’s policing practices is an essential part of any modern law enforcement regime,” Eure said at a news conference announcing his appointment.
He added: “At the same time, public safety and public confidence in the police are not at odds with each other.”
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. Also in the mix is an expected agreement for a federal monitor for the stop-and-frisk program.
DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, who appointed Eure to the $193,788-a-year position, insisted Friday 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.”
“Legislation creating the position gives the IG broad capabilities,” said police commissioner Bill Bratton said Friday. “Our intention is to work very collaboratively with him and his staff.”
Bratton told reporters he expected to have a smooth working relationship with Eure. The two met recently and had a conversation that was “very forward-looking,” Eure said.
“Coexistence is going to be the interesting challenge but Commissioner Bratton has an expertise in working with outside monitors,” said Michael J. Palladino, President, Detectives’ Endowment Association in a statement. “We must not lose sight of the mission which is to work together to protect the people and the city”
Mayor Bill de Blasio called Eure “one of the nation’s premier police accountability experts” and said his appointment will further enhance the NYPD’s efforts.
“Independent police review is a critical component in the constant improvement of our public safety efforts, and will help us enhance the operations, programs and practices of the NYPD, while also strengthening the NYPD’s relationship with the community – all vital elements in keeping us safe,” de Blasio said in a statement.
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