Restoring respect for NYPD starts with community affairs


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Robert Milman

The officers of the New York City Police Department are on the front lines of some of the most dangerous emergency situations, but there is a lack of trust between the community and the police. The NYPD Community Affairs Bureau can be used more to resolve this fracture.

The CAB holds many responsibilities that are important to the daily life of officers. While they may not directly affect their safety, they are responsible for keeping trust in the community.

To build mutual understanding, it is important that officers thoroughly know the community that they are serving. New York City is considered a melting pot; it is a city that has various cultures and ethnic groups mixed together and all of the communities view law enforcement in different ways.

“Finding opportunities to interact with community members in a non-enforcement context helps to reduce bias on the part of community members and police officers,” the U.S. Department of Justice has said. “Getting to know community residents helps both groups to break down personal barriers and overcome stereotypes, and allows officers to learn which residents of a neighborhood are law-abiding and which ones are not.”

The CAB has done so by partnering with “community leaders, civic organizations, block associations, and concerned citizens to educate them on police policies and practices, and to develop solutions to challenges that arise within the city’s many diverse communities.”

The beginning of 2022 has brought a tough year for law enforcement, especially here in New York City. The deaths of officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora have yet again shown the reason police officers deserve the community’s respect for their brave work.

New Yorkers have consistently been presented with negative information about police officers, not from the officers themselves but rather the city’s leaders, such as former New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. DeBlasio showed a lack of admiration for the NYPD during his time in office, which made it difficult for citizens to show respect to law enforcement.

The current polarization between Republicans and Democrats has added to the challenge of building understanding between police officers and those they serve. Politicians have rarely taken time out of their schedule to speak to law enforcement and try to understand how their policies directly affect them.

Additionally, the average New Yorker will often run into NYPD officers in times of nonemergency, such as a traffic stop, but fail to realize that this is a minor duty of law enforcement. Many officers will find themselves risking their own lives to protect the community they serve, members of that community often do not realize the efforts that officers undertake to protect others’ safety.

While building a healthy relationship between the NYPD and the public will not occur overnight, defunding the police does not speed up the process. Instead, funding should be relocated and allocated to bureaus such as the CAB, which will put a focus on improving matters within the public.

This will help the community know that the personnel set to protect them have their best interest in mind and police officers can have a safe environment to work in.