NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill spoke at this morning’s 149th CityLaw Breakfast at New York Law School. Commissioner O’Neill was introduced by Professor Ross Sandler, Director of the Center for New York City Law.
Today’s topic was Redefining New York Policing. Commissioner O’Neill shared his thoughts on how the NYPD’s crime-fighting philosophy is redefining what it means to be an NYC cop. He reflected on his journey to becoming an NYPD police officer despite concerns from his mother and other family members. Now, 35 years later, O’Neill has held several leadership roles in the NYPD and is working towards building the trust between the community and the NYPD.
Commissioner O’Neill spoke about crime reduction experienced by the City since the 1990s and the work that can still be done. One of the initiatives the NYPD has undertaken is Neighborhood Policing. Under Neighborhood Policing, the NYPD is focusing on building the trust within the community by keeping the same officers in the same neighborhoods and holding meetings with to community to listen to their concerns and suggestions. Commissioner O’Neil stated that “Neighborhood policing goes to the essence of who we need to be as police officers.” He stressed the importance of the community’s trust in the NYPD and the officers that patrol the City’s streets. Neighborhood policing, according to Commissioner O’Neill, is doing three things: making cops accountable, making the community feel good and building trust, and driving crime reduction.
Commissioner O’Neill also reflected on last year’s Halloween attack in TriBeCa and Port Authority bomb and the work of the officers who responded. He encouraged the community to speak up if they see something, which is part of the See Something, Say Something campaign in the City. He said that while the City is in great shape, we always have to be on guard.
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