Home City Council shifts more responsibility away from NYPD

City Council shifts more responsibility away from NYPD

The City Council passed a pair of bills Thursday that will shift some power from the NYPD to other city agencies — the latest legislative move in response to last summer’s protests for police reform.

Council members voted 39-10 to create a new unit in the Department of Transportation to respond to all crashes in the city that leave a person hospitalized.

Right now, DOT only responds if someone dies or is expected to die as a result of a crash.

The new law, which stops short of earlier proposals to fully remove the NYPD from crash investigations, is expected to have DOT officials on the scene of more than 3,000 more crashes each year.

The NYPD will still handle any investigation where criminality is suspected.

“We think this bill does a lot in really centering DOT on being the lead when we’re looking at the root causes and the causes that can [be] made on crashes,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said.

The council also voted 43-6 to move credentialing of the New York press corps from the NYPD to City Hall.

The change came after reporters were arrested while doing their jobs during the protests in response the police-custody death of George Floyd, though the move has been met with a mixed response from the Big Apple media.

In another legislative move, the council passed a resolution to urge the state legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to strip the NYPD police commissioner of the final say in officer discipline, instead giving that power to a civilian panel.

“Providing the [Civilian Complaint Review Board] with final disciplinary authority would lead to greater police accountability and ensure New Yorkers have a disciplinary process that — from start to finish — is totally independent from the police department,” CCRB Chair Fred Davie said after the non-binding resolution passed.

“Elected leaders who support equitable, independent, impartial civilian oversight of the NYPD can show their commitment to these values by providing the CCRB with the disciplinary authority it needs through the passage of this State legislation.”

NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller pushed back on the suggested change.

“What people are calling for is accountability,” Miller said. “When you take that accountability away from the chief executive of the organization and hand it to a committee, you have the opposite of accountability. When something goes wrong, all you get is finger pointing.”

City Hall didn’t immediately respond to questions on whether the mayor planned to sign the bills, but he indicated at his morning press briefing that he supported the DOT move.

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