As noted, by law, the Commissioner has complete authority over Departmental discipline.[32] Four officers on his staff are assigned to assist in disciplinary matters. They prepare a case analysis which is presented to the Commissioner’s Executive Officer and Chief of Staff, who also make their own recommendations. Their recommendations, along with the recommendations of others involved in the process (e.g., DAO, DCT, First Deputy Commissioner), are presented to the Commissioner for final review and disposition.

At a disciplinary committee meeting, the Commissioner makes a final determination whether discipline is appropriate and, if so, on the proper penalty. The committee is composed of representatives from the First Deputy’s Office, DAO, RMB, and a rotating three-star chief. The Commissioner’s decision is based on a number of factors, including the officer’s tenure, disciplinary record, performance evaluations, and relevant precedent. In CCRB cases, if the Commissioner departs from the disciplinary recommendation made by the DCT or CCRB, he must draft a variance memorandum explaining his reasons for departing. The Commissioner imposes penalties in the aggregate, not charge‑by‑charge.

G.            Internal and External Oversight and Monitoring Bodies

A number of internal and external groups oversee and monitor the Department’s disciplinary process. The primary bodies that monitor or oversee the NYPD’s disciplinary system are CCRB, the CCPC, the OIG-NYPD, RMB, and the federal court-appointed monitorship team led by Peter L. Zimroth. 

CCRB is statutorily tasked with informing the public about its “operations, complaint activity, case dispositions and police department discipline.”[33] It publishes periodic reports, which include monthly statistics on Department discipline, as well as recommendations for changes in disciplinary policies, procedures, and training.[34]

The CCPC oversees the NYPD’s anti-corruption activities. Established by executive order in February 1995, it performs audits, studies, and analyses of the NYPD’s policies and procedures relating to corruption controls. The CCPC does not conduct investigations.[35] It chooses particular areas to review based on specific anti-corruption concerns. Pursuant to the executive order, the NYPD is required to turn over any documents, reports, files, or other information that the CCPC needs to perform its function. The CCPC issues an annual report for public review, which includes updates on the NYPD’s implementation of recommendations in prior reports.[36]

[32] New York City Charter § 434(a); New York City Administrative Code § 14-115(a).

[33] See CCRB, Reports, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/ccrb/policy/reports.page (last visited Jan. 4, 2019).

[34] Id.

[35] Office of the Mayor of the City of New York, Executive Order No. 18 (Feb. 27, 1995). The CCPC was established in response to the police corruption identified by the Mollen Commission. CCPC, Twelfth Annual Report of the Commission 1-2 (Feb. 2010), available at https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/ccpc/downloads/pdf/Twelfth-Annual-Report-February-2010.pdf.

[36] CCPC, Annual Reports, https://www1.nyc.gov/site/ccpc/reports/annual-reports.page (last visited Jan. 9, 2019).