10 additional attorneys, filling other executive staff and supervisory positions, and implementing greater delegation of DAO decision making.
The Panel has identified other sources of delay that the Department should work to reduce or eliminate. For example, over 60% of the Department’s disciplinary cases are settled without the necessity of a protracted trial proceeding, yet those settlements are fully reviewed by the First Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner himself. The Panel recommends that the Department implement, at least on a pilot basis, a “fast track” review for settlements involving less serious offenses. Those cases could proceed to final resolution without review by the First Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner. In cases prosecuted by DAO, the Panel further recommends that such settlements be approved by the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of DAO, a position that is currently vacant and that the Panel recommends be promptly filled. In addition, to address a significant source of delay resulting from the Department’s reconsideration program in CCRB cases, the Panel recommends that DAO limit the number of cases that it asks CCRB to reconsider to those where new facts come to light or where it is apparent that issues of law were overlooked or incorrectly applied.
While the bulk of its work focused on the four areas discussed above, the Panel also identified issues concerning the Department’s handling of false statement cases, domestic violence cases, as well as shortcomings in the Department’s disciplinary case management systems that have the potential to negatively impact the disciplinary system. The Panel has significant concerns about the Department’s disciplinary practices in false statement and domestic violence cases and recommends that the Department promptly adopt certain of the CCPC’s longstanding recommendations related to those cases. These particular categories of discipline are critical to the integrity of the Department and to ensuring the fitness of officers to serve.
To better monitor disciplinary outcomes and related trends, the Panel recommends that the Department upgrade and integrate its disciplinary record-keeping and case management systems. The Department should also retain an external expert to periodically audit the disciplinary system to ensure that it is producing fair, unbiased, and consistent outcomes. In addition—and to further enhance consistency, transparency, and accountability—the Panel recommends that the NYPD evaluate disciplinary data and audits to determine whether that information can be leveraged to design and implement a disciplinary matrix to guide the Commissioner’s exercise of his broad discretion over NYPD discipline.
The Panel was struck from the outset, and throughout its work, by the lack of transparency and plain-English explanations of the NYPD’s disciplinary system and process. We thus begin with an overview of the NYPD’s disciplinary process in an effort to demystify it.
A complaint against a member of the service can be brought by a civilian complainant or fellow officer; the Department itself can also initiate a review of an officer’s conduct based on its