NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After a wave of anti-police protests, rising gun violence and threats from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the NYPD has announced the first steps to try and reinvent itself, starting with community forums.

Four months ago, the governor ordered every police department in the state to restore community trust in law enforcement, or lose state aid.

On Tuesday, the NYPD began trying to comply, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

“What a shame it would be if we didn’t take every advantage of the unique point in time to get it right, Marcia,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.


Shea announced a new effort by the NYPD to re-imagine itself by getting community input to help restore trust in the men and women whose jobs it is to keep the city safe.

Granted, he has to do it. Cuomo threatened to withhold aid from any police department in the state that fails to fix itself.

Shea claimed he was excited by the prospect.

“I’m not really sure what that means, but I can tell you some things. It’s about listening. It’s about working with the community. We can do better,” Shea said.

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The NYPD is joining with the Urban League, the Robin Hood Foundation and the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies to make the department a fairer agency.

It’s an outgrowth of the anti-police demonstrations that have rocked the city.

“We certainly don’t know everything in the NYPD. I think we get a lot of things right, but, I think truthfully you have to recognize, too, that sometimes you get things wrong,” Shea said.

Step one is a series of eight community forums over the next two weeks, starting on Staten Island. That borough was chosen because of the Eric Garner chokehold case.

There were pointed questions about community skepticism and whether residents think the NYPD is committed to change.

“We are New Yorkers and we move with skepticism. Skepticism in this moment can be otherwise thought of as being engaged incritical thought,” said Jennifer Jones Austin of the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies.

“Like many of you, I was also skeptical. New York City is an old city and so is its police the department. The NYPD has experienced its share of task forces, but at the Urban League we believe that this role presents a unique opportunity to influence the future of policing in New York City,” Barbara Rice added.

The police unions were not included in these plans, which irritated Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. He said more meetings and forums are not the answer and suggested that officials come and talk to police and community members on the streets.

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