New York, NY – The police union put out a list of guidelines for officers to follow on Monday after New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner James O’Neill fired Officer Daniel Pantaleo in connection with the death of Eric Garner despite the fact a grand jury and a federal investigation had exonerated him.
“Be advised that neither your Police Academy training nor the current Patrol Guide procedures reflect the precedent established by this decision,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch wrote in the memo, a copy of which has been obtained by Blue Lives Matter.
Lynch warned that Commissioner O’Neill’s termination of Officer Pantaleo set a dangerous precedent and “fundamentally changed the nature of our job” when he allowed politics to determine Officer Pantaleo’s fate without regard for the fact.
The memo encouraged officers to “uphold our oath” and continue doing their jobs but reminded them “we must remain united to protect each other from the toxic political environment in which we are forced to work.”
On Monday, the PBA accused Commissioner O’Neill of rolling over for City Hall and doing Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bidding.
In order to be in exact compliance with the patrol guide, officers will have to do a lot of things in a specified way that, in the past, was unofficially left to officers’ discretion.
“For every job involving a possible arrest situation, immediately request response by patrol supervisor and additional members to help control situation, pursuant to P.G. 221-02, ‘Use of Force,’” the PBA memo instructed officers in accordance with NYPD policy. “Await the patrol supervisor’s arrival before attempting to effect an arrest, except when immediate action is necessary to protect life and personal safety of all persons present (see P.G. 221-02).”
“Prior to effecting an arrest, confer with the patrol supervisor,” the memo said, and reminded officers to use their bodycams and “document in your memo book all instructions received from the patrol supervisor or other supervisors at the scene.”
A NYPD official told Blue Lives Matter that officers needing to request a supervisor for every arrest is going to greatly reduce the number of arrests made and make every emergency call take significantly more time as officers wait for officials to arrive.
It will also increase the number of officials needed to supervise every shift, he warned.
The memo also reminded officers that anytime a suspect doesn’t voluntarily submit to being handcuffed, they need to request an Emergency Service Unit (ESU) before they can take that suspect into custody.
Officers should “attempt to isolate and contain the suspect” while they wait for ESU to arrives, as per NYPD official policy.
“It’s not only going to be a slowdown for regular emergency calls but ESU isn’t going to available when they’re really needed,” the NYPD official told Blue Lives Matter.
He said that ESU, which usually deals with only the most dangerous incidents, will have to put extra trucks out every shift to handle all the requests from officers to help with suspects who have refused to be taken into custody.
“It’s very well known that for a majority of circumstances, the patrol guide is not followed to a T because you’d never get anything done,” the official told Blue Lives Matter. “It’s just too inefficient to do everything that way.”
The PBA memo to its members also reminded officers that they must call for an ambulance every single time there is a use-of-force, regardless of whether anyone has claimed to be injured.
“Do not transport the prisoner until he or she has been evaluated by EMS personnel,” the PBA wrote.
The memo also told officers to be sure and do their paperwork completely and as soon as possible for every incident.
The NYPD official told Blue Lives Matter that most officers save paperwork to complete at the end of their shift so they can get back out on the street faster when they complete a call, but that the policy says they have to do all paperwork immediately after a call is completed.
He said following the rules in this case is going to dramatically reduce the number of officers actually patrolling city streets.
The official told Blue Lives Matter that the community will feel a genuine slowdown in response times if all calls are done exactly according to NYPD policy.
He predicted a lot of retirements from the police force in the near future.
“That’s going to leave this department in the lurch. If it starts immediately, they’ll have to pull more resources from the precincts all over the city to cover all the big events over Labor Day weekend, for example,” the official told Blue Lives Matter.
He also predicted that Commissioner O’Neill won’t be popping in to visit station houses and talk with the rank and file like he has in the past anytime in the near future.
“The reception at the precinct isn’t going to be very warm,” the official warned.
Lynch announced at the press conference following Officer Pantaleo’s termination that the PBA board would be moving for a vote of “no confidence” against the commissioner and the mayor.