This Thursday, We Know There Are Not Enough Police Because There Are Too Many Police Standing Around Doing Nothing
Plus: More drama in NY's highest court, babies aren't getting vaccinated, and Eric Adams will not be taking questions after attending today's aeronautical display.
11:13 AM EDT on August 25, 2022
If you’re a New York City police officer, you might have thought that having one of your own in the mayor’s office could only be good for you. As it turns out, having a mayor with actual convictions about policing issues isn’t always good for police.
Eric Adams personally does not like to see cops standing around. He made that clear earlier this month when he dismounted from his Summer Streets ride down Park Avenue to micromanage some officers assigned to the event. Now, the mayor’s distaste for visibly idle police has manifested as an NYPD memo ordering officers not to lollygag. “Do not congregate, or engage in unnecessary conversation, with other members of the service while on post, absent police necessity,” the memo reads, according to the New York Post.
The memo follows an earlier episode in which Mayor Adams announced that he was sick and tired of police standing around looking at their phones, and called for the public to hold police accountable by taking pictures of any officers they saw looking at their phones and to send those photos straight to him. How Adams squared this call with his otherwise hostile stance toward those thinking of recording the police in the course of their official duties was unclear, as was whether this no-screen-time-for-cops initiative yielded any measurable results.
The Post, breaking the news of the latest order, collected its own impressive assemblage of photographs of police standing around doing very little. You might think that this discussion of throngs of police with apparently very little to do might raise a question about whether there are in fact too many police. But that’s chump logic. The real experts in the field know better. What if I told you that all these street corners and subway stations full of police looking at their phones and shooting the shit about how much overtime they got last month was actually evidence of not enough police?
“It just goes to show you that they’re spread thin,” Joseph Giacalone, a former NYYPD sergeant who is also a professor teaching students at John Jay College, reasoned sensibly to the Post. “They don’t have enough people. You can’t cover all these events and move cops to hot spots. After a while, you say to yourself, ‘Who’s left?’”
Who indeed, in this force of 35,000 uniformed officers, a force larger than any other U.S. city police department and most national militaries?
The real culprit for all these cops twiddling their thumbs, of course, is obvious: bail reform.
Meanwhile, in other developments:
- New York’s highest court has a new acting chief judge, after the abrupt departure of Janet DiFiore under the cloud of investigation for judicial misconduct. The naming of a temporary replacement was evidently messy and contentious—by tradition, the temporary post should have been allocated by seniority to Judge Jenny Rivera, whose long refusal to get a COVID vaccine has scrambled court operations for months. WIth the top post at stake, Rivera got the first shot, but in a cruel twist, this compromise of her deeply held anti-vax principles was for naught: Instead, DiFiore’s choice for the post, Anthony Cannataro, won out, keeping control in the hands of the remarkably destructive conservative faction with which elected Democrats have packed the court, at least until a new permanent chief judge is nominated and approved.
- Also extremely unvaccinated: New York City residents between six months and four years of age, who, despite being eligible for COVID vaccination since June, are only two percent fully vaccinated.
- Not to worry, Mayor Eric Adams is hard at work today, according to his press schedule: “On Thursday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams will view a flyover demonstration by the United States Air Force (USAF) Air Demonstration Squadron “Thunderbirds” over New York City. This event is open press. There will be no Q-and-A.”
- The Justice Department is asking that former NYPD officer Thomas Webster be sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison for his role in storming the Capitol on January 6 last year.
- Department of Social Services head Gary Jenkins, who allegedly tried to cover up violations of his department’s legal requirement to promptly house asylum seekers, also presided over a $53,000 raise for his wife last year when she worked under him at the Human Resources Administration, in an arrangement an administration spokesperson insists is fine.
- New York Attorney General Letitia James regrettably used an offensive slur in announcing a $4 million settlement with 29 NYC-based rent-collecting Americans who paid contractors deliberately inflated rates for renovations in order to steal apartments out of the city’s already rapidly diminishing pool of rent-stabilized apartments.
- The NYPD is not interested in enforcing traffic safety laws and you can’t make them be interested and they wish you would stop bothering them about it and they want you to know that “we are not responding to your calls,” OK?
- Speaking of vehicular enforcement, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is holding its first hearing on the implementation of congestion pricing this afternoon. You can register here to take part in what is sure to be a rational policy discussion between calm and respectful adults. Hell Gate has already made its position on this issue clear.
- The founders of sketchy fitness juggernaut Yoga to the People have been charged with tax evasion, which is still nowhere near the worst thing they’ve been accused of.
- It’s a harsh world out there and you have to take love where you find it, and if that means huddling up with your quaternary family in your cozy genetic gravity, well I say go for it.
- The Knitting Factory is coming back to Manhattan.
- A pop brand synergy event long foretold by prophecy finally manifested last night at Madison Square Garden.
- Everybody is still talking about tennis in the city, with Corey Kilgannon spending quality time at the venerable Lincoln Terrace Park courts on the border of Crown Heights and Brownsville.
Nick Pinto served two tours as staff writer at the Village Voice. His reporting has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Gothamist, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, The Intercept, and elsewhere.
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