New NYPD recruits will soon be expected to hum a happier tune when dealing with the public, based on a positive-interaction curriculum that is being added to Police Academy training, Mayor de Blasio announced Thursday.
The seven-point program includes a number of common-sense principles that could have been penned by Miss Manners — such as: Listen attentively to people you encounter, be patient, and end all interactions on a positive note.
The “Seven Steps to Positive Community Interactions” also asks police officers, when possible, to introduce themselves and provide their name and rank.
De Blasio said the new training is part of the administration’s effort to heal community and police relations in the wake of the tension he says was fostered by the overuse of stop-and-frisk.
“Those interactions weren’t very positive,” de Blasio said alongside NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton at the 25th Precinct in East Harlem. “A lot of times, the folks stopped had no idea why they were being stopped. A lot of times there wasn’t a lot of explanation or respectful dialogue — and it dug in a sense of divide in many communities.”
Bratton said he didn’t know the origin of the seven steps, but referred to similar attempts in the past — both locally and nationally — to improve police interactions with the public.
He said he had even introduced something known as “verbal judo” during his 1990s stint as commissioner under Rudy Giuliani.
“We injure very few people in this city in the course of making arrests and interacting with them, but we do tend to injure a lot more people through our language,” said Bratton.
“The idea is to begin to formulate new language for all of our officers that might help diffuse a situation rather than escalate it.”
Cops are also asked to keep an open mind about what citizens tell them, to know what resources are available to help the public, and to make every effort to address people’s needs.
De Blasio cited the public’s help in nabbing a gunman who allegedly shot a cop in Brooklyn Wednesday as an example of the kind of cooperation he’s seeking to foster.
He drove the point home by giving a city proclamation to Harlem good Samaritan Dale Green, who two weeks ago scared off an alleged would-be rapist and provided cops with a detailed description that led to an arrest.
“I want a city where if something goes wrong, citizens are going out of their way to tell police exactly what happened, tell them where the perpetrator is, where the weapon is, and being as quick as they can to join the police in partnership,” the mayor said. “That’s what we have to build here.”
Republished with permission of The New York Post