As the NYPD work stoppage enters its third week, police bosses throughout the city are threatening the rank and file officers with loss of vacation time and sick time unless they go back to work writing summonses, the New York Post is reporting.
The NYPD has been involved in a de facto work stoppage since late December 2014, when, angered by remarks made by Mayor Bill de Blasio that suggested people protesting the NYPD may have a point, began making arrests only when they “absolutely have to,” according to Rolling Stone.
Since the work stoppage, arrests are down at least 66 percent. Meanwhile, New York City courtrooms sit all but empty, according to the New York Times.
At issue is the NYPD’s refusal to enforce so-called “Quality of Life” crimes — selling untaxed cigarettes, for example, or possessing marijuana. Enforcement of such violations is a major source of revenue for the city; by refusing to enforce such violations, and instead focusing only on arrests “absolutely necessary” arrests, the NYPD is costing the city money.
And that is not sitting well with the NYPD’s top brass. Throughout New York, precinct commanders are requiring their officers to submit “activity sheets” detailing what, exactly, they’ve done during their shifts. Other commanders have made it clear that there will be no vacations and no sick days approved until the work stoppage has ended.
According to an anonymous source within the NYPD, police are being ordered back to issuing summonses for non-violent offenses – the very culture of aggressive policing that led to Eric Garner’s death for selling untaxed cigarettes.
“Police officers around the city are now threatened with transfers, no vacation time and sick time unless they write summonses. This is the same practice that caused officers to be labeled racist and abusers of power.”
Another unnamed source admits that the threat of withholding vacation time is directly related to the loss of revenue.
“Everyone here is under orders — no time off. And the majority of [new] summonses written aren’t protecting the public in any way. But now they’re realizing how much revenue the city is losing and they’re enforcing their will upon us.”
For Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, the NYPD work stoppage illustrates just how much the NYPD is less of a protective police force and more of a revenue-generating industry.
“If I were a police officer, I’d hate to be taking money from people all day long, too. Christ, that’s worse than being a dentist. So under normal circumstances, this slowdown wouldn’t just make sense, it would be heroic.”
Unfortunately for those within the NYPD who may have realized Taibbi’s point, unless they want to risk losing their vacation time (or even, ultimately, their jobs), they need to go back to generating revenue.
[Images courtesy of: New York Post]