If the City Council gets its way, the next NYPD commissioner will have to undergo a confirmation process under a new bill proposed by the city’s legislative body.
If approved, local lawmakers would have unprecedented power when it comes to choosing the city’s top cop and is one of several new police reforms the Council unveiled Friday.
The raft of new legislation includes bills that would end the immunity cops are now entitled to in civil lawsuits, allow for police with a history of bias to be probed by the city’s Commission on Human Rights and transfer the responsibility of investigating car accidents to the city Transportation Department.
Other bills would shift the NYPD’s power to issue press credentials to another city agency and fully remove the NYPD from city schools.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson said the bills are aimed at reducing “the NYPD’s footprint.”
“Without transparency and accountability, we cannot rebuild trust between the police and the communities they serve,” said Councilwoman Adrienne Adams, head of the Public Safety Committee. “The Council already uses its powers of advice and consent with some of the most powerful positions in the city. It’s time the police commissioner gets that same level of scrutiny.”
Requiring that the mayor’s pick for police commissioner be confirmed by the City Council could seriously complicate matters for the next mayor.
Whoever that is will be faced with the difficult task of continuing to reform a police department that came under significant criticism last year for its handling of street protests.
Picking a new police commissioner is among the most important decisions a mayor makes in their first days of office. And if approved, the Council measure would significantly curb the mayor’s power.
Mayor de Blasio’s team offered general support for the Council’s efforts, but did not indicate whether Hizzoner planned to support the specific reforms raised Friday.
“We look forward to reviewing all legislation and working in partnership with the council in pursuit of our shared goal of longstanding police reform,” de Blasio spokeswoman Avery Cohen said.