matrix may help the Department detect previously unseen trends indicative of favoritism, bias, or inconsistency in the system, if any exist.
The implementation of a disciplinary matrix would reinforce the Police Commissioner’s accountability. A matrix would not limit the Commissioner’s discretion over disciplinary outcomes, but would provide helpful guidelines for him to consult when exercising that discretion.
Second, given the current legal obstacles to releasing personnel records and other information about disciplinary outcomes, implementing a disciplinary matrix may aid the Department in its efforts to be more transparent with the public. At the very least, a publicized matrix would inform the public of the Department’s view of what penalties are presumptively appropriate for specific types of misconduct.
Third, a matrix may increase efficiency in the system by providing CCRB investigators, DAO personnel, and representatives of accused officers a more concrete basis from which to negotiate settlements of uncontested Charges and Specifications.
The Panel found that every team at DAO that handles cases is understaffed. The number of DAO attorneys should be increased by 10. This would enable team leads and supervisors to focus on reviewing the work of line attorneys and handling the more sensitive or high-profile matters, rather than juggling supervisory duties and their own significant caseloads. DAO should also hire an additional four paralegals. The Panel learned that DAO agency attorneys often delegate tasks to paralegals so that they can focus on substantive legal work. Increasing the number of paralegals at DAO will allow agency attorneys to process cases faster and more efficiently.
The vacant executive staff positions should also be filled promptly. The executive staff should be given the authority to make final decisions on routine disciplinary matters, which would allow the Department Advocate to focus on cases where significant charges are recommended and on other duties commensurate with Deputy Commissioner-level responsibilities. Most urgently needed is an ADC, who can make decisions on behalf of the Department Advocate when he is unavailable in addition to handling day-to-day routine management.
The Department should consider a “fast track” for settled cases involving less serious offenses where the officer has agreed to the findings and the penalty imposed in the settlement. Such offenses may include, for example, failure to remain alert on post, unauthorized off-duty