Law enforcement is a critical element in the wellness and success of any country, and more so when it comes to the safety of the citizens and the enhancement of law adherence. Therefore, the different institutions associated with law enforcement face a high degree of expectations from the public, especially when there tends to be a case of an increase in negative outcomes of possibly poor law enforcement operations or ineffective operations. In such cases, law enforcement institutions may be vulnerable and are expected to be answerable to the public and, more so, those who fall victim to unlawfulness. Therefore, even as the policy and any other law enforcement institution work towards enhancing the adherence to the law by everyone within their jurisdiction, they strive to see that (Spadaro et al., 2020, p. 15 & 16). One of the police institutions in the United States is the New York Police Department (NYPD). It stands as the largest among other municipal police forces across the United States. It has about 35,000 police officers who are uniformed and about 14,000 who are ununiformed; all these officers operate as full-time employees. However, this police department experiences a number of issues. As a newly appointed police commissioner of the NYPD, among the issues that one may expect to experience include uniformed overtime, an increase in criminal cases, and the reform of the police coupled with the Gun Violence Action Plan (DiNapoli & Jain, 2023). This paper discusses these issues and the possible strategies and policies that may aid in tackling these issues.
Major issues facing NYPD
Uniformed overtime spending
The uniformed overtime spending for the NYPD seems to be high in recent times, and this tends to have an effect on its budget allocation. This spending was, however, not as much as it is currently during the period of the pandemic since there were minimal or sometimes no events at all where people came together. Currently, the NYPD is experiencing overruns in its overtime spending, and this has increased by more than half as compared to the previous decade. The city seems to have no clue about this increase, and its budget has remained nearly the same. In 2013, it experienced overspending of 40%, and in 2022, the overspending was about 93%, as reported by the New York City Comptroller. By February this year, the NYPD had already exhausted the budgetary allocation for its financial year by 98 million United States dollars. The Comptroller estimates that by the end of the year, the department will have spent 740 million United States dollars in overtime. More overspending is expected in the coming years (Lander, 2023, p. 1). The seemingly uncontrolled spending in overtime activities by the NYPD is caused by come planned as well as unplanned events. However, it remains a major issue that the city goes ahead in underbudgeting for the overtime expenses by the department.
The NYPD is currently facing the issue of an increase in the rate of crime in the city. In the previous couple of years and more so in the past decade, between 2013 and 2020, the city experienced a reduction in the rate of crimes. However, since 2021, the city has experienced a reversal in the trend, with shooting incidents being among the main crime events. Putting it into perspective, the number of shooting cases set the record highest since 2006 by exceeding 1,562 cases (DiNapoli & Jain, 2023). According to Sarasa-Cabezuelo (2023, p. 1), New York City started experiencing a rise in crime that involved shooting in 2019, and the difference was experienced between 2019 and 2020. In 2020, there were 776 shooting cases, and this figure rose to 779 in 2020. However, the increase in shooting incidents rose by 38%, and the rate of increase between 2022 and 2023 was 32% (Sarasa-Cabezuelo, 2023, p. 1). These shooting incidents were a cause of injuries and also deaths. Further, crime rise in New York City involved other types of crime such as robbery, grand larceny, and rapes; these cases experienced 54%, 56%, and 22% increases, respectively, for the three crime categories, and these crimes combined insinuated that the city experienced a 41% rise in major crimes between 2021 and 2022 (Tucker & Morales, 2022, Para 2). In other words, New York City has experienced a surge in the cases of crime, and this is an issue of major concern for the NYPD.
Reforms and Gun Violence Action Plan
The NYPD has a lot on its table when it comes to policies and reforms that it is expected to tackle as a way of taking care of the safety of New York City residents and enhancing its law enforcement efforts. The NYPD made a commitment to implementing 132 reforms that were included in the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative as well as the Blueprint to End Gun Violence. The problem that comes with the presence of these policies and reforms is the lack of adequate budgetary allocations to cater to their implementations. According to DiNapoli & Jain (2023), it remains unclear what the budgetary allocations meant for the implementation of these policies and reforms. Additionally, the NYPD seems not confident with the implementation of the Blueprint to End Gun Violence and does not see it as the ultimate solution to gun violence in the city. The city mayor stated that there is a need to add the “dangerousness” clause to the blueprint and also pointed out a number of sections in the document that he considers as less helpful and not guided by the interests of the safety of the New York City citizens (Kaishian, 2022, Para 1-4). Additionally, the Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative policy reform has been experiencing opposition and negative criticism from the public, claiming that it is characterized by a lot of discriminatory elements. According to the Center for Constitutional Rights (2021), the contains policing practices that are argued to have been made without the engagement of the communities that tend to be highly impacted by them, such as the Latinx and people of color.
Among the leadership strategies that I might apply as the newly appointed police commissioner for the NYPD is communication and organization, allowing democratic policing and community involvement in policy-making processes, and leading in research and innovation. Being communicative and organized in me as a leader may work well, especially in lobbying for finances from the city council for the department, especially now that it has shown to be facing challenges with spending beyond the allocated budget. As a leader, I realize that I may be the individual that the entire department depends on when to representing their financial needs to the city council leadership. Therefore, I may require to be good at communicating its needs and making the financing body realize that the NYPD is facing a lack of funds for overtime expenditure. In this case, my communication skills will require to be characterized with convincing evidence that the department truly needs the financing to be considered for an addition. Here, I may require to have been organized with all the needed documentation of the overtime policing plans and the breakdown of activities that the department budgets for. In other words, I intend to communicate through data of previous and ongoing department finance-needy operations and future plans, including how the department intends to make efficient use of finances; according to (Mykkänen & Ikonen (2019, p. 34), the communication is aimed at characterized by the lobbyists focusing on the major issue at hand, presentation of facts as well as appeals. In my case, as a leader, I take the role of the lobbyist, and therefore, I require to have all the information that contains facts and appeals that focus on the financial issue in an organized manner.
Additionally, as a leader who has knowledge that I am leading a department that is facing an increase in crime that may make it lose the trust of the community it serves, I may require to welcome different views from different affected stakeholders. In this case, I may invite different enforcement officers who have experience with interacting with the community and have dealt with different crime cases to offer their input into the loopholes that they view as requiring special attention or the creation of policies to help tackle them. The law enforcement department is made up of different stakeholders, and it is crucial to consider their views when it comes to making decisions and implementing them. Leading this department while involving all stakeholders, including victims, and to some extent simulating the thoughts of the perpetrators will make the department make decisions while targeting specific crime elements. As Elliot et al. (2019, p. 2) state, “a police leader is required to balance demands for crime enforcement, crime prevention and deterrence, reducing antisocial behavior and fear of crime, and improving community safety.” The strife to achieve the balance and consideration of all the above elements required the involvement of all stakeholders involved in each of them.
Further, I can lead the organization in researching and implementing innovative ideas regarding how to deal with different law enforcement and crime problems facing New York City. As a leader, I can lead different teams in the processes of identification of research areas that, if studied, may help in tackling the problems involving crime as well as the creation of policies and reforms in the department. In this case, I may need to be open to different ideas of problems that the stakeholders identify as needful for research and policy-making. Leading successful research operations may be the basis of preventing opposition to the policies and reforms, as has been the case for Blueprint to End Gun Violence and Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative. Arguably, research in law enforcement or any other institution that is of public interest is aimed at strategy development. In such a situation where there is a need to carry out research, a leader serves as the determinant of the direction of the strategy (Elliot et al., 2019, p. 2). Therefore, as a leader, I will be determined to show direction in researching and implementing innovative ideas, more so when it comes to the selection of possible crime-reduction strategies and the involvement of different stakeholders.
Recruitment, training, and enforcement
In my leadership, I may lead in making some changes in the recruitment policies and, more so, the identification of the potential recruits to get the best of recruits to serve in the department. Currently, the NYPD engages in a recruitment process that involves calling on the individual who feels that they have what it takes to serve in the police department. Information about the hiring process is out to the public and contains the qualifying age, education, residency requirement, and health requirements (Hiring Process, 2023). I understand that there are individuals who may have this information and not get interested, yet they possess other qualities and characteristics that showcase their abilities to enforce law and order. Therefore, to be in a position to get hold of the individuals who possess unique qualities associated with law enforcement and order, I may encourage the officers to be actively involved in noting individuals who fit the role of police officers and help in recruiting them into the department. The officers who interact with the public come across different individuals who possess diverse characteristics that can be considered heroic or of service to the public.
When it comes to the training, I may lead in adjusting the policies and allow consideration of needs and wishes that the police coordinators and instructors may want to be included. The consideration of the need and wishes of the instructors and coordinators may involve making adjustments to the police training curricula. Arguably, the department may be facing some challenges in the training of the police officers that make it difficult for the process to produce officers who are able to handle the problems that are specific to New York or, rather, their area of jurisdiction. Notably, the design of the law enforcement training may be in a way such that it assumes that one size fits all situations that the police face. Therefore, it is in favor of matter improvement of police training and working experience, adjusting their curricula to align with what they feel is key in their diverse situations that are specific to New York City.
On matters of enforcement of the law, I would make changes that would make improvements in creating public awareness regarding their safety and matters of security surveys. When making changes in the public awareness about public awareness, I may make use of the current technological advancement, such as the social medic platform, since such will help to reach a larger audience. The enhancement of the information distribution regarding how the public can safeguard themselves against attacks through the social media platform, the public may be closely connected to the police and help in raising alarms when there is a need. In other words, I would work my best to ensure that as many people as possible have access to crucial and helpful information that would aid them in playing their part in self-security even as the policy engage in their law enforcement activities.
Among the policies that I may lead in creating will be geared towards improving the overtime budgeting outcomes, reduction of crimes, and enhancement of the policies and reforms creation processes. When it comes to the improvement of overtime budgeting, I will lead the department in creating a policy that will guide it in improving clarity and the level of cooperation between the department and the city council. The city council is responsible for the allocation of finances to the NYPD, and there is a need for there to be an agreement between its leadership and the NYPD leadership on how it will ensure that it meets the budgetary requirements of the NYPD’s overtime operations. In this policy, both parties will have to agree about the major elements they seek to consider in the budget, any cost-reduction strategies, and how the city council intends to increase its allocation to respond to any increase in the department’s needs as it has been witnessed in the past. If the city council cooperates in the creation of the budgetary allocation policy and implements it, then there might be some improvements in the department’s overtime operations.
When it comes to crime reduction policies, I will lead the department in creating policies that will enhance the cooperation between the police officers, the intelligence, and the community. The policy, in this case, will be created with representatives from the three parties who will offer insights into what they feel works well for the interests of crime reduction in New York City. The cooperation between police officers and intelligence will work well in thwarting crime (Gradoń, 2020). On the other hand, the cooperation between the community and the police will communicate the areas of crime interest that the police require putting some more effort into (Prysmakova & Vandenabeele, 2020). Therefore, bringing together the three parties together will help tackle a myriad of issues associated with the process of preventing and mitigating crime.
Further, I will lead the department in creating a policy that facilitates the inclusion of all the stakeholders who are affected by the policy that is about to be made. In this case, the department will help in ensuring that the views of different stakeholders are heard and considered in every reform or policy. Such a policy will help in preventing the opposition that comes with some individuals feeling the security reforms and policies do not align with their needs. I feel that it is highly crucial to ensure that one involves all people and groups that are of interest, and, therefore, everyone feels compelled to put in their efforts towards their well-being and that of the entire community.
Conclusively, the NYPD is a crucial department in New York City security and law enforcement. However, the department is currently experiencing the challenges associated with overbudgeting in its overtime expenditure, the increase in crime rates, and the ineffectiveness of the policy and reform implementation. As a leader in this department, I look forward to implementing leadership strategies, including communication, inclusion of different stakeholders, and creation of awareness to the community and everyone else who is affected by the security issues facing the city. I am a leader who feels compelled to ensure that I include different stakeholders who are affected by the change in policies and reforms and an increase in crime and shooting cases. The consideration of these stakeholders and the use of leadership skills will touch on recruitment, enforcement activities, and training. I look forward to having a good experience in NYPD leadership and making a change that will reduce crime, help moderate the overtime budget and create policies and reforms that are acceptable.
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