The New York Police Department is not 100% free of rotten cops, but it is very close. That is the message we received in session 8 of the Citizens Police Academy. One-third of 1%, is the number of crooked cops in the NYPD, according to Captain Servedio, of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB).
How does IAB keep that number so low? They do it through random tests and targeted tests. There are random and targeted hair sample tests for every police officer, including top brass. Hair sample tests are more expensive than the urine tests, but apparently, are more accurate. There are random and targeted integrity tests, where the bad apples are provided opportunities to exhibit their malfeasance. Also, IAB recruits are plucked from the police academy and given the job to be the eyes and ears of the IAB among the rank and file officers in each precinct. IAB also keeps those numbers low through an anonymous hot-line where each caller receives a unique number to preserve their anonymity. In addition, the NYPD makes IAB service a mandatory requirement among officers selected for limited tenure IAB service.
So, who are these IAB officers who are policing the police? They are 646 officers, and a few civilians, of high integrity personally selected by the top police brass. Their mission is to "ensure the highest standard of integrity" within the NYPD.
Given all the scandals within the NYPD, do I buy this integrity thing, and that the IAB is all it is touted to be? The answer is "yes." I believe it not only because the instructor, Captain Servido, was a credible advocate for the IAB, but also because of an incident I witnessed a couple of weeks ago at the 123 Precinct on Staten Island.
As part of Mediation Settlement Day in Staten Island, the New York Center had some coffee and pastries for the officers in the training room at each of Staten Island’s three precincts. I noticed several dollars by one of the gym bags in the training room at the 123 Precinct. Concerned about someone taking the money, I mentioned the money to one of the officers. I was told to just leave the money alone, which I found very odd at the time. In the context of the integrity tests of the IAB, the officer's reaction made a lot of sense.
It is very unfortunate that there needs to even be integrity tests, and an IAB. But what is the alternative for the good officers, and the community the police serve? I think there is little alternative from the police side, than an honest IAB, if the NYPD is to honestly serve the community with integrity. After all, we are talking about 50,000, or so, officers. It would be a true miracle if none of them were dishonest.
Next week the gangs will be all there.
So will I!