Cops in New York City operate between a rock and a hard place. Under pressure to meet "performance goals" they are stopping and frisking New Yorkers at a record pace, while simultaneously tasked by their bosses and City Hall to keep crime stats low.
A new survey of 1,962 ex-officers, of all ranks-- financed by Molloy College and conducted Dr. John A. Eterno and Dr. Eli B. Silverman-- could further confirm what the secret tapes of NYPD whistleblower Adrian Schoolcraft revealed in 2010: cops rig stats by downgrading crimes and ignore other criminal complaints altogether.
The respondents ranged from chiefs and inspectors to sergeants and detectives. About 44 percent, or 871, had retired since 2002. More than half of those recent retirees said they had “personal knowledge” of crime-report manipulation, according to the summary, and within that group, more than 80 percent said they knew of three or more instances in which officers or their superiors rewrote a crime report to downgrade the offense or intentionally failed to take a complaint alleging a crime.
Police spokesman Paul Browne questioned Silverman and Eterno's methodology. "The latest report from Eterno and Silverman appears designed to bolster the authors’ repeated but unsupported claims,” he said. “The document provides no explanation of how the survey sample was constructed.”
Browne, however, did not go so far as to disagree with the findings.
A five-part series published by the Village Voice in 2010 revealed the secret tapes of Schoolcraft, who documented illegal quotas and serial downgrading in the 81st Precinct. After Schoolcraft presented the evidence, NYPD officials had him involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital.
Schoolcraft's tapes demonstrated the pressure placed on police by precinct commanders to fill illegal quotas while simultaneously keeping crime stats low.
Ed Mullins, President of The Sergeants Benevolent Association, in an interview with HuffPost last month questioned the department's emphasis on CompStat, the system by which the department tracks crime statistics.
"I think the NYPD should've rolled back on CompStat a long time ago," he said. "CompStat's a good thing...but when it's used as a form of discipline...and I bring you in fornt of a room of popele, and embarrass you, what are you going to do.? You 're gonna start plagiarizing so that doesn't happen. At what point does CompStat become punishment? Everyone hates it, because they're being chastised."
The blame, he said, falls squarely on those at the top. There's a "hierarchy," he said, that's "constantly demanding more and more and more and they never embrace the people at the bottom. It's becoming slavery to some degree."
Another officer spoke to New York in their April cover story,"What's Eating THe NYPD," about cops' low morale.
"If we don't write the summons, you hear about it from the sergeant; if we do, from the public," he said. "So we're just the bad guy, either way."
"Where do we turn?" the officer added. "It’s horrible now."