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Bratton's Recommendation is Out

April 30, 2018

Looks like Judy Pal is out. She was the assistant commissioner hired just a few months ago, on the recommendation of former commissioner Bill Bratton. Her job was to plug the mayor’s signature policy of neighborhood policing.

Or, as she put it to NYPD Confidential six weeks ago [See NYPD Confidential, March 26.]: “I am working through some neighborhood policing projects with Chief Donahue and Chief Spinella.” Raymond Spinella is Commissioner Jim O’Neill’s chief of staff. John Donohue was recently appointed chief of strategic initiatives.

Until recently, Pal was working out of O’Neill’s office under Spinella. No longer. She was seen last week in the department’s public information office, known as DCPI, the office now headed by Phil Walzak, who was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s former press secretary and communications director for his 2013 campaign and who helped run his 2017 campaign.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialPolice sources say they expect Walzak to play the lead role in plugging neighborhood policing.

Why is this relevant? It’s because neighborhood policing is relevant. As Ray Kelly did with his signature policy of stop-and-risk, de Blasio has touted neighborhood policing at virtually every police-related news conference as a reason for the city’s continuing crime decreases.

But just as there was no empirical evidence that stop-and-frisk had anything to do with the city’s crime declines under Kelly, there is no evidence that neighborhood policing has anything to do with the city’s crime declines under de Blasio.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittMoreover, the policy is facing resistance throughout the department. At a recent meeting of top brass at the Police Academy, police sources say the brass — captains and above — was warned by an assistant chief that if they weren’t on board with the program that they should consider retiring.

Meanwhile, the department is struggling to get out its neighborhood policing message. Theoretically, the concept — cops bonding with communities — is a good one. Yet it can improve relations only so far as last month’s shooting of Saheed Vassell, a mentally disturbed, supposedly harmless man from Crown Heights, revealed.

When 911 callers told of a man who appeared to have a gun and was menacing passersby, four anti-crime cops appeared on the scene and fired 10 shots, killing him.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialStill, de Blasio is so enamored of neighborhood policing that earlier this month — with O’Neill off on a 10-day mission to Afghanistan — the mayor decided to hold a news conference without him to announce he was expanding neighborhood policing to the subways. Forget that O’Neill was a former transit cop or that he was due home just a couple of days later.

As for Pal, Peter Donald, an assistant commissioner in DCPI under Walzak said she had been transferred to DCPI. When asked about rumors she had quit the department, he called today to say her last day would be May 11.

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