The New York City Police Department will be publishing an online dashboard with its misconduct findings and disciplinary decisions as early as next week. At a press conference at NYPD headquarters Thursday afternoon, department leaders promised that the database would include guilty and not-guilty decisions following NYPD disciplinary trials as well as thousands of other internally substantiated misconduct findings over the last decade.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said he hoped that increased transparency over the disciplinary process would foster greater trust between police and residents.
“When you look at the world that we find ourselves in, and all the protests over the last year, and all the discussions about reform and law enforcement that’s continuing and going forward, I always find myself coming back to this topic,” Shea said.
The release will occur in stages, over the course of this month, with older disciplinary files coming online later. The portal will include individual profiles for active -duty officers, and each profile will include an officer’s start date, promotion and training history, and departmental commendations and disciplinary history.
First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said he hopes that the release, particularly of detailed trial decisions, will help the public to see how complicated misconduct investigations can be. The dashboard, he said, will also strive to show an officer’s whole “life” on the job. “Not just the bad things, not just the discipline, but also who they are, how much training have they had, some context, which is important,” he continued.
The announcement comes one day after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals instructed the City of New York that tens of thousands of records relating to police misconduct and disciplinary decisions can now be made public. It also follows the publication earlier today of a separate database from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent oversight agency, which includes up-to-date records on thousands of civilian complaints against officers.
Listen to George Joseph's report on WNYC:
In June, Mayor Bill de Blasio had initially pledged that the city would publish a database along the lines of the one the NYPD is now outlining. His announcement came on the heels of the repeal of a state law, known as Civil Rights Law 50-a, which had long kept police misconduct records shielded from public view. Those plans, however, were scuttled after a coalition of police and other unions went to court to try and block the release, citing other protections in their contracts. Last month, the Second Circuit shot down the latest appeal brought by the coalition.
In a brief phone call, Hank Sheinkopf, a spokesperson for unions, said the coalition was considering its “options,” but provided no further detail.
George Joseph reported this story for the Gothamist/WNYC Race & Justice Unit. If you have a tip, or if you work or have worked in a prosecutor's office, a law enforcement agency or the courts, email reporter George Joseph at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also text him tips via the encrypted phone app Signal, or otherwise, at 929-486-4865.