Chief Monahan’s Reply to Shaun King

In response to Shaun King’s first article on Medium.com, I think you are mistaking old NYPD history for present practice. And I would like the chance to meet with you to update you on what we are doing to prevent recurrence of events that gave rise to your concerns.

While there never were arrest quotas, enforcement numbers were sometimes thought to lead magically to crime reduction. That certainly is not now the case. The NYPD has been under new management since 2014, with Commissioners William Bratton and James O’Neill, and that management has consistently rejected arrests and other enforcement actions for their own sakes, a primary reason why arrests are down 30 percent citywide since 2012. From the start, we made the determination that we could continue to reduce crime with fewer, and better targeted, enforcement actions, and we have stuck to that policy in the past three and half years. The result has been steep declines in arrests, criminal summonses, and stops (cut by more than one million since 2011) — and steady drops in crime.

The alternative to numbers-driven enforcement is our Neighborhood Policing initiative, which is establishing the framework to bring cops and community together to work jointly at fighting crime and solving local problems. As it happens, the 42nd Precinct, the focus of Mr. King’s story, is home to a shining example of Neighborhood Policing in the person of newly promoted Detective Fred Washington, who is a neighborhood coordinating officer there. He is making connections all across the sector where he works. His most recent sector meeting had more 300 attendees, ready to work with the police department to improve the safety and civility of their neighborhood. When Jaheen Hunter, a five-year-old boy, was tragically shot in the head in the 42nd last June, the first person his father called was Detective Washington, and there is probably no greater measure of trust than that.

With respect to the charge of arrest quotas in the 42nd Precinct, the 42nd recorded a five-year decline in arrests of nearly 18 percent at the end of last year. This year, the five-year decline is nearly 20 percent year-to-date. You’d think a community where arrest quotas were in force would have an outsized number of arrests, but so far this year, half of the precincts in the Bronx have more arrests than the 42nd. Midtown South, in the heart of Manhattan’s business district, has 6,200 arrests year-to-date compared with about 3,500 in the 42nd Precinct, which is pretty strong evidence the 42nd Precinct is not engaging in arrest inflation.

Let’s set a time to get together to discuss this.

-Terry Monahan, Chief of Patrol