Newly minted graduates from the police academy was asked by New York City Mayor and the police commissioner to be more respectful towards their constituents. They were asked to greet people when in uniform and to avoid friends and relatives prone to making bad decisions.
Better police-community relations
The ceremony for the 555 graduates from the police academy was held on December 28. Mayor De Blasio informed graduates that the city has taken the decision to employ an increased number of neighborhood police officers. It is being hoped that they will know their neighborhood and thus contribute to improving relationships between members of the force and civilians. He hoped that the deepening of such bonds will make both the neighborhoods and the officers safe. Identical sentiment was echoied by James O'Neill, the Police Commissioner. He urged the new police officers to be little more friendly when they go on a beat. He said that they must be good cops. To do this, he added, the officers must show themselves to be good human beings. The commissioner also asked the personnel to cut of contact with friends and relatives who are prone to break the law or basic human dignity.
These comments came in the wake of degraded relations between the police and the communities they serve. One such example to garner national attention is when a police officer of Fort Worth jurisdiction arrested two girls and their mother when the mother complained to the police that her neighbor has choked her son-who is seven years old- for suspicion of littering.
These steps were taken especially after the Eric Garner incident in July 17, 2014. Garner died due to an illegal chokehold enforced by Daniel Pantaleo, a police officer. The former Staten Island resident, according to the police, was suspcted of illegal selling of untaxed cigarettes. A grand jury in December, 2014 decided not to indict the Officer Pantaleo of the death. The case is still open and there is a running investigation by federal civil rights personnel.
Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner, was also present in the meeting. She said that it would be great if the police officers followed the mayor's and the police commissioner's advice. The Garner family has pushed for a law applicable for New York City which will need officers to identify themselves clearly and publicly if they become involved in altercations. The officers must explain reasons for such interactions.