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Thread: A bad policy by the NYPD
07-22-08, 09:57 AM #1
A bad policy by the NYPD
Im sure everyone has heard of this in their locker rooms across the country. Here is an editorial by The Chief Leader, a newspaper for civil servants in NYC. It describes a shooting that took place last week, and how this policy was implemented, and then amended to fit the circumstances.
What do you guys think?
At the end of a dizzying 72-hour period in which Det. Ivan Davison morphed from a "loaded" cop with his job on the line to a hero officer whose drinking was celebrated by the same newspaper that hung that tag on him, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pronounced as a success the program that gives Breathalyzer tests to all officers involved in shootings. "We said from the beginning that it would be possible to have cases where officers might test positive for alcohol use, and also be found to have taken appropriate police action," the Commissioner stated. "This is the first such case."
The incident occurred when Detective Davison, who had a few drinks with friends while off duty in Queens, witnessed a brutal assault of a man by several others, tried to intercede while identifying himself as a cop, and was fired upon by one thug who had an automatic weapon. Fortunately, the assailant missed his target; Detective Davison then returned fire and struck him twice, and the man was eventually arrested at a Long Island hospital where he had gone to seek treatment.
Under a policy implemented early last fall, the Detective, while being treated himself for high blood pressure at a Queens hospital, was ordered to leave the facility to undergo a Breathalyzer test by Internal Affairs Chief Charles Campisi, and when he refused, was suspended without pay. It was eventually found that his blood-alcohol level was slightly above the standard for determining intoxication.
Mr. Kelly quickly lifted the suspension and placed Mr. Davison on modified assignment. After media reports generated strong public reaction in support of the Detective, including statements by Mayor Bloomberg, he was returned to full duty by the Police Commissioner.
In one respect, the case was relatively uncomplicated: it was so clearly a case in which a cop, while off-duty, had performed a public service by trying to stop a crime being committed, then justifiably used deadly force after it was used against him, that even the Rev. Al Sharpton acknowledged Detective Davison had done the right thing.
But it did anything but settle whether Mr. Kelly's policy is appropriate, rather than what it appeared to be when first implemented: a public-relations response to the Sean Bell shooting by cops in Queens in November 2006.
As we noted last fall, the move seemed premature because there was no evidence that any of the cops who had fired their weapons had been drinking to excess, although the undercover officer who initiated the fatal confrontation had admitted to having two drinks while trying to blend in at the club where he was working undercover while Mr. Bell was celebrating his bachelor party.
As it turned out, no evidence was produced at trial that police drinking played any role in the shooting. The trial judge concluded that a threat made by one of Mr. Bell's friends to get a gun had been the precipitating event in the fatal confrontation.
And so Mr. Kelly's Breathalyzer policy, which had been recommended by a panel he tapped to study the Bell shooting, seemed a solution to a nonexistent problem.
That is not to condone cops drinking to excess. Even when off-duty, there is the possibility that they will have to act as peace officers, as Detective Davison did, and there is no guarantee that when they do the results will be as good. If a cop's judgment or aim is impaired by alcohol, there is the potential for tragedy to occur. That is why officers are best advised to do their drinking in moderation, and if they go out expecting to let themselves go, to leave their guns at home.
But the Police Department doesn't want off-duty cops with a slight buzz on who suddenly find themselves in a situation that requires law-enforcement action to refrain from getting involved because they might get jammed up later. The policy of automatic Breathalyzer tests after shootings in which someone is struck raises that possibility.
The police unions have brought lawsuits and a grievance questioning the policy's legality and arguing that Mr. Kelly could not unilaterally implement it without negotiating with them. Last week's incident, rather than reassuring them that the policy will be applied judiciously, raises new questions about the perils for officers who use their guns in circumstances where their actions are less certain to quickly win public approval."We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -- George Orwell
07-22-08, 02:14 PM #2
My department's policy is you can't be in possession of your weapon while drinking.Pleasing nobody, one person at a time.
That which does not kill me, better start fucking running.
If I lived every day like it was my last, the body count would be staggering.
I intend to go in harm's way. -John Paul Jones
Hunt the wolf, and bring light to the dark places that others fear to go. LT COL Dave Grossman
07-22-08, 02:53 PM #3
The major problems with this policy is that they can get a warrant from a judge, to search your vehicle and draw your blood, when there is no criminality involved on the part of the officer. This is a violation of the 4th amendment.
2nd, its a legit shoot.
3rd, there are plenty of scientific studies that have determined a BAC of 0.08 is an impairment when driving a motor vehicle, but there have been absolutely no studies stating that your judgement of whether to shoot or dont shoot is effected in the same way.
4th, alcohol effects people differently based on drinking experience, weight and gender. For example. Im 5-7, 180 lbs and dont drink at all. I could be impaired with one beer per 2 hours, while my partner at 6 ft, 230 lbs and an experienced drinker, can be impaired after a six pack within the same time frame.
5th, at roll call, the supervisor inspects his troops before turning them out on patrol. He has certified that everyone is prepared and fit for duty.
6th, at the scene of a shooting, whether on duty or off, the duty captain can determine if it was a good shoot or not, based on the evidence recovered at the scene, not on BACs.
This policy takes the officer involved and while still under the emotional trauma of a shooting, the department wants him to give his blood, breath to determine if the officer is drunk. It navigates the investigation in a different direction based on the BAC, and not the testimonies and evidence at the scene. This is being challenged in Federal Court and its outcome may determine if all LEOs nationally might have similar rules put in place.
I have one question. If a federal officer, off duty, gets involved in a shooting within the confines of NYC, will he be compelled to submit to the same standards, and if determined to be drunk, will he face suspension by his employers?
My final thought is this. This policy is flawed because it has not been scientifically proven to show at which point a shooting officer is imparied, and that a police officer should be protected against being compelled with threats of suspension, to offer his blood without a proper hearing infront of a judge."We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -- George Orwell
07-22-08, 04:50 PM #4
07-22-08, 06:12 PM #5
All excellent points.
As far as another agency getting involved in a shooting while in the confines of the city, that policy will not apply, it is department policy not city law. But the main reason will be why would the city want to deal with someone elses headache, they will let the concerned department handle their own shootings as long as no NYPD personnel was involved.
07-22-08, 07:16 PM #6
As far as carrying your weapon offduty, basically it is up to your descretion. NYPD does not have any written policy and only goes as far to say if you can not secure it at all time then don't bring it, an example being going to the beach. The department does want you fit for duty at all times.
07-22-08, 08:47 PM #7
I would be on here too long saying what I think about this and all the other BS Bloomturd and Kelly have brought to the men and women who protect the libs in NY at their own peril.September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.
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