The NYPD plans to stop cops from texting or calling from their personal phones while on duty by forcing all rank-and-file officers to attach identifying “NYPD” stickers to their work phones.
The directive was added to the NYPD’s patrol guide and sent to cops via a “finest message” the day before Thanksgiving.
“Upon receipt, all members of the service are required to affix an ‘NYPD phone sticker’ to the outside of their department-issued cell phone case so that it’s clearly visible,” the order read.
The decal stickers are the latest approach to stop officers from using their personal phones on the job.
Mayor Eric Adams had previously urged the public to take photos of cops talking on their phones on subways and send them to the department.
“You walk downstairs, you see five transit officers standing at the booth looking at their phones,” a former transit cop complained in April. “If you see it, send me a picture. Let me know. Because I’ll go to that district the next day and see exactly what’s happening.”
The directive was largely met with scorn by NYPD officers.
“It’s nonsense. It’s basically to keep you off your own phone,” one officer said. “If the boss sees you, he wants to see that you’re only using the job phone. It’s all horses–t.”
One veteran officer with more than 25 years on the job said he knew what to do when his supervisor distributed the stickers emblazoned with the NYPD shield.
“I threw it in the garbage,” the officer said.
“It’s very intrusive,” he added. “What is this, kindergarten? People are pissed off. I mean, what are we doing here? Are we children? We’re grown men and women.”
Apparently, the stickers themselves didn’t really stick.
“The stickers don’t even stick, anyway. Somebody who had it on their phone for a week and a half said it already fell off,” the cop said.
“Does it do anything special? Glow in the dark, display the bat signal?” another Bronx officer joked about the sticker.
He continued: “So it’s just a sticker? Who’s bright idea was this? How much did it cost the city? If I lose it, will it be considered losing departmental property? Will I get disciplined or transferred if my sticker isn’t visible to the public?”
The officer from Brooklyn said that directives like this were the kinds of things turning young people away from the job.
“Inspections will write you up for being on your personal phone unless you have a legitimate reason, like ‘Hey listen, my wife’s sick’ or this or that. I think it’s childish. It’s ridiculous, but it’s the NYPD. They’re hammering these kids on every little thing.”
Back in April, Governor Kathy Hochul responded to the mayor’s comments regarding the use of personal phones.
“I’ve got different approaches to public safety,” she said. “I have confidence in the NYPD to do their jobs, as well as the MTA police officers. I’m grateful for what they do. People need a sense of security. There are multiple ways to accomplish that.”
Hochul went on to say that funding for more resources and security in the subway system was a better approach than disciplining officers for using their personal phones.