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Bill de Blasio touts ‘revolutionary’ change to policing: ‘Customer service has to be what NYPD is about’

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Democrats have never met a crisis that a good turn of a phrase couldn’t resolve, just ask New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Democratic mayor proudly announced that the city is pursuing a “revolutionary” new approach to policing in New York City, “a commitment to a new customer service model, and even the very fact that we’re talking about customer service in the context of the NYPD.”

The goal is to strengthen the bond between police and the community. Looking past the fact that violent crime is surging in the Big Apple and people are being gunned down in the streets, the NYPD is launching a new precinct greeter program.

During his daily City Hall news conference, de Blasio ballyhooed what he called “a paradigm shift,” saying, “Customer service has to be what the NYPD is about.”

“Fundamental customer service idea. It’s never existed previously in the NYPD but it’s going to be the future of the NYPD,” the mayor said. “Now we’re talking about another really important step forward. It is simple. It is basic. It is powerful. The notion that when you go into a police precinct, at a time when you often really, really need help, or maybe a time when you’re just looking for a way to get involved and work with the police, you need a positive response. You need to be respected. You need to be heard, that hasn’t always been the case.”

The theme here being consistent, that the police are the bad guys mistreating a community that wants to respect them — of course, this vision has little to do with the reality on the ground.

“I’ve listened to stories for not years, for decades, from New Yorkers, every walk of life, every race, every neighborhood, bluntly, who have told me as much as they really respect the NYPD and they want the NYPD to succeed, too often their own personal interactions have not been positive,” de Blasio said. “People going into a precinct, calling a precinct, getting a response that wasn’t respectful, often gruff, and dismissive. People really trying to work with the police but feeling like they’re being pushed away.”

He conceded that “a lot of officers” treat people with respect, but added, “It’s not all of them though. But the sad reality is so many people who just were trying to exercise their rights to get information or file a concern or a complaint, find out what’s happening with a case, they were treated in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with customer service or respect. That’s not acceptable and it’s not going to build the bond we need.”

“So, now a new approach where community members will help their fellow residents to navigate the precinct, to have a positive experience, a community guide who will be the first point of contact when someone comes to a precinct, someone they can relate to, someone who wants to make it a positive experience,” he explained.

In effect, the creation of another NYPD job that has nothing to do with addressing surging crime. NYPD Chief of Patrol Juanita Holmes was introduced, and she said the new greeter program would look to hire from the community.

“You know, it just brings a warmer, kind of friendlier, gentler environment,” Holmes said, adding. “So it creates that comfort.”

As Fox News reported, de Blasio’s remarks “came just hours after Jaden Turnage, 16, was chased down a street in Bedford-Stuyvesant and fatally shot around 6:15 p.m. Wednesday. The brazen killing followed the slaying of Cahlil Pennington, also 16, who was shot in the head during a broad-daylight gun battle along a commercial strip in East New York around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.”

But not to worry, Holmes responded to a question from the New York Post about crime to say that the NYPD was “always focused on violence, that’s at the top of the list.”

Tom Tillison

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