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New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on Monday that the NYPD's anti-crime unit will be eliminated.
Some 600 plainclothes officers who have worked out of the agency's 77 precincts will now be reshuffled into detective work and neighborhood policing.
Calling the decision a "seismic shift" in the department's culture, Shea added: "I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of 'Stop, Question, and Frisk.'"
On Friday, numerous city leaders expressed their support for cutting the NYPD's 2020-2021 budget by $1 billion amid ongoing protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
The New York Police Department is disbanding its anti-crime unit in what Commissioner Dermot Shea described on Monday as "a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city."
"This is 21st-century policing," Shea said at a news conference. "We must do it in a manner that builds trust between the officers and the community they serve."
The move will impact some 600 plainclothes officers, who will be transitioned into other assignments like neighborhood policing and detective work. In the past, they've worked out of the department's 77 precincts, targeting violent crime, The New York Times reported.
"I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of 'Stop, Question and Frisk,'" Shea said. "I think it's time to more forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains. We can do it with guile. We can move away from brute force."
Shea admitted that the decision is "not without risk" because the anti-crime unit's work includes taking firearms off the street. Without them, the risk is "squarely on my shoulders," he said, according to WABC-TV.
Police reform has become a rallying cry not only in the United States but across the world after George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died while a white police officer placed a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes in a bid to restrain him. Floyd's police killing sparked outrage, which manifested in the form of protests with thousands calling for an end to systemic racism and police violence.
In some cases, however, rioters hit the streets and looting, arson, vandalism, and police clashes took attention away from the Black Lives Matter movement.
"Thankfully, here in New York City, angry demonstrations have turned peaceful. Thoughtful discussions about reform have emerged. We welcome reform, but we also believe that meaningful reform starts from within," Shea said, per NBC New York.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on June 7 that the city would be "shifting resources to ensure that the focus is on our young people."
Other police reforms included overhauling 50-a, a section of New York Civil Rights Law that says personnel files of police officers, firefighters, and corrections officers are "confidential and not subject to inspection or review" without their permission.
On Friday, several city leaders issued a joint statement throwing their support behind cutting the 2020-2021 NYPD budget by a whopping $1 billion.
The "unprecedented reduction" would "not only limit the scope of the NYPD, but also show our commitment towards moving away from the failed policing policies of the past," the statement said.
The group promised to save money by "reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses."
Shea shared a defiant message on Instagram on May 31, telling police officers that he was "extremely proud" of them as videos surfaced on social media showing them shoving protesters, yanking people's masks down to hit them with pepper spray, and even using horses and police cruisers to barrage into crowds.
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