Aggressive order maintenance policing

Adrian Schoolcraft, a suspended NYPD officer, and Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello of Brooklyn's 81st Precinct are on opposite sides of dispute over accuracy of crime statistics.

The Village Voice has published the first piece of a new series on NYPD whistleblower Adrian Schoolcraft’s secret precinct recordings providing “an unprecedented portrait of what it’s like to work as a cop in this city:”

Schoolcraft first made headlines in February, when the Daily News reported that he was speaking out about manipulation of crime reports at the 81st. His complaints, the Daily News wrote, had sparked an investigation that had put even the precinct’s commander, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, under suspicion. Those stories, however, gave no indication that Schoolcraft was also in possession of the remarkable audiotapes.

The N.Y. Daily News articles ran on Feb. 2 (Precinct Probed For Fudging Stats), Feb. 3 (Fudged Crime States Report Deserves Hearing, Sez Pol), Feb. 12 (Police Under The Gun In Crime-Stat Shenanigans), and Mar. 29 (Crime Spike For Probed B’klyn Pct).

The tapes reveal that the NYPD street cops responsible for carrying out aggressive order maintenance policing experience “enormous pressure in a strange catch-22: He or she is expected to maintain high ‘activity’—including stop-and-frisks—but, paradoxically, to record fewer actual crimes.”

Aggressive order-maintenance policing was pioneered in New York City, with an emphasis on “quality of life” policing and zero tolerance policies, and grew out of James Q. Wilson & George L. Kelling’s Broken Windows theory – the proposition that “nipping the smaller problems of disorder is the first step against major crime” – seized upon by the Giuliani campaign. Descending to low comedy, Kelling was brought on to study aggressive, “fear generating” squeegee men in NYC, videotaping and cataloguing them with a $20,000 grant. Appealing to common sense, Giuliani said “he ‘knew of situations in which people have turned down jobs in restaurants because they felt they had more flexibility’ with their squeegees.” But he “expect[ed] ‘more of people.'” After cracking down on the squeegee men, they moved onto to deal with public urination and alcohol consumption, aggressive panhandling, obstructing sidewalks, open-air drug deals, as well as truancy. (See, James Q. Wilson & George L. Kelling, Broken Windows, The Atlantic Monthly, Mar. 1982, at 29; Francis X. Clines, Candidates Attack the Squeegee Men, N.Y. Times, Sept. 26, 1993, at 39; Steven Lee Myers, ‘Squeegees’ Rank High on Next Police Commissioner’s Priority List, N.Y. Times, Dec. 4, 1993, at 23; Alison Mitchell, An Apron for a Squeegee, N.Y. Times, Feb. 16, 1994, at B3).


5 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.
  1. Danger,

    More from the 81st Preinct: Larry Celona and Tim Perone, Two NYPD cops to turn themselves in for falsely arresting undercover cop, N.Y. Post, July 30, 2010.

  2. Danger,

    Al Baker and Ray Rivera, On Secret Tape, City Police Press A Tickets Quota, N.Y. Times, Sept. 10, 2010 at A1.

    … [I]n a secret recording made in a police station in Brooklyn, there is persuasive evidence of the existence of quotas.

    The hourlong recording, which a lawyer provided this week to The New York Times, was made by a police supervisor during a meeting in April of supervisors from the 81st Precinct.

    … On the tape, a police captain, Alex Perez, can be heard warning his top commanders that their officers must start writing more summonses or face consequences. Captain Perez offered a precise number and suggested a method. He said each officer on a day tour should write 20 summonses a week: five each for double-parking, parking at a bus stop, driving without a seat belt and driving while using a cellphone.

    “You, as bosses, have to demand this and have to count it,” Captain Perez said, citing pressure from top police officials. At another point, Captain Perez emphasized his willingness to punish officers who do not meet the targets, saying, “I really don’t have a problem firing people.”

    … A previous set of recordings of station-house roll calls was made in 2008 and 2009 by Patrol Officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who has filed a lawsuit against the department claiming retaliation after he reported accusations to the Internal Affairs Bureau.

    Officer Schoolcraft accused supervisors in the precinct of manipulating crime statistics and enforcing ticket and arrest quotas, which are a violation of state labor law.

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