Eric Adams is the best suited mayoral candidate to tackle NYC policing


Dave Hosford | Flickr

Jason Galak

In the crowded 2021 New York City mayoral election, the eight strongest candidates have given large thought to the issues regarding safety in the city.

Some have addressed their plan to “defund the police,” while others have a more moderate agenda aligned. The mayoral candidate with the best and most realistic approach to policing is Eric Adams.

It’s been over a year since the death of George Floyd, which was the historical event that brought extra attention to America’s law enforcement communities and further encouraged the idea of police reform.

New York City is one of the cities that took action on police reform after Floyd’s death. After weeks of Black Lives Matter protests, Mayor Bill de Blasio chose to go with the route of defunding the police, shifting nearly $1 billion away from the New York City Police Department.

Many left-wing activists were happy. Other New Yorkers were extremely frightened of what that will do to policing in the city.

By April, the overall crime index in the city has risen roughly 30.4% in comparison with April 2020, according to an NYPD report released in May. Many New Yorkers are now scared to even walk the streets at night. And it’s getting worse by the week.

Adams, the current Brooklyn borough president and a retired police captain, has worked most of his life to reform the police. However, unlike every other candidate, he chose to do it from the inside.

He knows what it’s like to be a victim of racial profiling and police brutality. At 15 years old, he and his brother were arrested for criminal trespassing, then beaten by NYPD officers until a Black cop intervened. He was then inspired to join the NYPD Police Academy and graduated as the second in his class in 1984.

He worked as a police officer from 1984 to 2006, retiring with the rank of captain. Adams understands what it is like working with police on not just policing but also understanding how to avoid police brutality and racial profiling.

As mayor, Adams plans to work side by side with the police and the police reform and civil rights group that he founded, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, to reduce New York City’s rising crime rate.

“One of the most important police reforms I would pursue and would enact as mayor deals with precinct commanders, something that many New Yorkers are not aware of … They determine how law enforcement is carried out in their geographical area. I will ensure that we have a cross section of leaders, community groups, civic groups, block associations, community boards to sit down and interview the precinct commanders,” Adams said, according to The New York Times. “Because if you have the wrong fit, like we are witnessing over and over in communities with historical tension between police and communities, you’re not going to start the process of rebuilding trust.”

Adams has consistently dealt with policing from the inside. He has grown to understand how policing works and the system from the inside, which is why he would have the largest advantage in reforming them to be more beneficial to New York City.

Adams, who is endorsed by The New York Post and Abner Louima, the victim of one of the most infamous NYPD abuse cases, is bringing 24 years of policing experience and 14 years of government work to the table.

Mayoral candidate Maya Wiley, a civil rights attorney and short-time member of the de Blasio administration who was recently endorsed by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, made her disdain of cops very clear when she refused to give a clear answer regarding whether or not she would take away guns from police officers.

She did say, however, that the police must be held accountable, and New York City must make sure that everyone is safe from crime, but at the same time, police violence.

With that, Wiley supports removing police from mental health and substance abuse calls, as well as homelessness outreach. In addition, she proposes to increase the budget of the NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board, the largest police oversight committee in the United States, which she used to chair.

She joins other mayoral candidates Shaun Donovan and Dianne Morales in wanting to remove police from schools.

Much like Wiley, Morales portrays her large disdain for the police as her campaign website states, “DEFUND THE POLICE; FUND THE PEOPLE.” Morales has taken further steps to reach out to progressive New Yorkers about defunding the police by committing to reallocating $3 billion of NYPD’s overall budget.

Her goal is to create a Community First Responders Department — not associated with the NYPD in any way — for trained personnel with backgrounds in responding to mental health and wellness issues. She has also called for removing police from social services, such as traffic enforcement and drug intervention.

“Police aren’t keeping us safe,” Morales said to Bloomberg News when she spoke about the shooting of a 4-year-old girl in Times Square.

Morales does not believe that police are the answer to safety as she has also proposed to abolish NYPD’s gang database, limiting the information the police have on gang activity. She wants to transform the police, rather than reform it.

Donovan, who is running his mayoral campaign on the fact that he was former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development for one term, has announced that he would redirect $3 billion worth of funds from the NYPD and the Department of Correction to violence prevention and racial justice programs, which, as he notes in his extremely detailed criminal justice plan, is only 20% of the city’s public safety budget.

Donovan also wants to remake the police department to be accountable, transparent and responsive to community needs.

“The crisis is not just an issue of police accountability. It is also a problem of public safety, because people cannot do their job effectively when they lack the trust of victims, witnesses, and whole communities.” Donovan’s plan states.

Donovan’s goal is to repair the broken relationship with the police department rather than further breaking it. To do this, he has proposed appointing a commissioner who shares his vision for public safety, building a leadership team at the police department, holding individual officers responsible for bad acts and consenting to the appointment of a federal monitor.

Scott Stringer, the current New York City comptroller who is running for mayor, has previously announced that he supports defunding the police, however, has since then recanted that statement, putting forth a proposal that does not mention the word “defund” at any point.

As mayor, he promises to introduce independent audits of NYPD data and surveillance techniques to keep them as transparent as possible, to end the deployment of specialized tactical units at protests, marches or parades, to give the Citizen Complaint Review Board the final say on disciplinary actions, to make 911 independent from the NYPD and to reduce police response to non-crime calls.

Mayoral candidate Ray McGuire’s police reform plan focuses on creating an emergency social services bureau.

The former Wall Street executive from Citigroup wants to create a 24/7 network of mental health, drug abuse and homelessness specialists that will replace policing for noncriminal behavior. This would allow the police to focus on more violent crimes.

He vowed to create a new chain of oversight and accountability that starts with City Hall, to conduct a top to bottom review of all public safety spending to focus resources on prevention, community investment and combating the most damaging crimes and to end qualified immunity for police officers.

“Accomplishing this will require renewing the frayed social contract between the police and New Yorkers,” McGuire said in an op-ed to the Gotham Gazette.

Former Commissioner for the New York City Sanitation Department Kathryn Garcia, who is also running for mayor, has put together a set of moderate proposals with policing.

“Police are critical to the city of New York. We need our communities to be safe. But that means we need to make sure that we are changing the culture from a warrior culture to more of a guardian culture,” Garcia said.

Garcia has made it a point that she does not support defunding the police. However, she does want to increase the size of the NYPD Gun Violence Suppression Division to tackle the sudden increase in shootings around New York City.

The prospective mayoral candidate wants to increase the recruitment age for police officers from 21 to 25 to ensure that they are ready to take on the responsibilities. Unlike other candidates who would like to take the police out of the subways, Garcia plans to put a stop to subway crime with an increased interdisciplinary police presence paired with mental health professionals.

Additionally, she plans on celebrating and elevating police officers who exemplify the character of service and respect. Garcia respects police officers and believes that it is truly possible to work together to create a better city.

Lastly, the prior 2020 presidential candidate and current mayoral candidate, Andrew Yang, also does not believe in defunding the police.

“The first thing I’d do as mayor is go to our police force and say that ‘Your city needs you. Your city needs you to do your jobs professionally, responsibly and justly.’ But the police are going to be the core way for us to address the public safety concerns that so many New Yorkers have. And let me be clear, defund the police is the wrong approach for New York City,” Yang said, according to The Hill.

Yang proposes what he calls a “21st century form of policing,” in which he would take an anti-violent approach on limiting guns. The opposition of Yang to those candidates that want to defund the police seems clear as he continually criticizes those who are in favor of the idea.

With rising crime rates across all boroughs, New Yorkers are crying for help, and Adams is the best candidate to not only tackle the NYPD but pick the city back up from the ruins.