NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Incoming Police Commissioner Dermot Shea is calling for changes to the state’s new criminal justice reform laws.
It’s a position that could put him on a collision course with the Rev. Al Sharpton and members of the minority community, reports CBS2’s political reporter Marcia Kramer.
Shea has been on something of a charm offensive since Mayor Bill de Blasio named him to the top job, passing over First Deputy Ben Tucker.
He met with members of the Latino community last week, and on Monday, it was Sharpton and other community leaders’ turn.
As for his views on criminal justice reform, he wants changes to the no-cash bail law that could be a source of friction.
“Anytime you swing too far too quick, I think you run the risk of possibly some unintended consequences,” said Shea in a one-on-one interview with Kramer.
Shea said he would ask the legislature to amend the law so that judges have more discretion to hold people on bail.
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“I would love to see judges have a little bit of discretion to think about danger. It’s more about, to me, at times, the person than the offense in front of them that they’ve committed,” he said.
Sharpton made it clear he doesn’t want people to be held in jail because they can’t afford bail. He also made it clear that because Tucker didn’t get the job, Shea has a tough road ahead.
“He comes with certain, a kind of awkwardness that he inherits,” said Sharpton, noting Shea would have to earn the trust of minority communities.
“There must be some real candor and transparency with bad actors on both sides, both in the community and the policing,” he said. “He must be committed to that and must earn the respect and that openness in terms of communication. We have very serious problems in police-community relations.”
“I think you have to do that every day, I have no problem with that,” said Shea.
In an interview with CBS2 Shea said he was committed to making the city safer for all communities and that he is committed to making sure upper management at the NYPD reflects the diversity of the city.
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What does Shea think the mayor saw in him that determined he was the man to be the next police commissioner?
“He’s seen in me over the last five years someone that sometimes has the habit of looking at things a little differently, looking at the problem from all sides,” he said.
New Yorkers already know that Shea is something of a police nerd, studying policing stats and crime strategies as head of the CompStat unit. He also graduated in the top 10% of his police academy class, skipped the eighth grade and made sergeant in three years.