NYPD, CCRB sign MOU to strengthen discipline matrix

NYPD, CCRB sign MOU to strengthen discipline matrix

Moses Kuwema 


Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday that the NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) have signed a new agreement to strengthen the Discipline Matrix and ensure greater transparency around police discipline. 

These reforms are part of the Administration's larger pledge to reimagine policing for a safer and fairer city. The new MOU confirms that the NYPD and CCRB will use the penalty guidelines to guide officer penalties for misconduct.

“For years, we have achieved major police department reforms and today’s announcement is just the start for the progress we will make together as a city in 2021,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With this new cutting-edge reform, the Police Department now has clear, fair and just discipline guidelines. This is about accountability, building trust and ensuring community engagement is centered in our approach.”

“Since my appointment more than a year ago, I’ve been proud to significantly enhance the NYPD disciplinary system, said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “The administration of discipline is now more rapid and decisive than ever – enhancing transparency for the public and clarity for the department. I have demanded accountability, meted out tough discipline when needed, and delivered tempered justice as the facts warrant, embodying the judicious balance such matters demand and deserve. This new memorandum of understanding furthers all of those goals, assuring that the NYPD delivers fair, consistent and effective service across all of its public-service operations.”

“The disciplinary matrix, and the memorandum of understanding the Police Commissioner and I signed today to guide the implementation of the matrix, are key to enhancing and strengthening civilian oversight of the NYPD,” said CCRB Chair Fred Davie. “I look forward to working with the public and my colleagues in City government to strengthen the disciplinary matrix, and to rebuild the trust between community and the police by ensuring real accountability and transparency.”

The MOU details the following reforms: Commits CCRB and NYPD  to follow the guidelines in all cases to accomplish the mutual goal of consistent and fair discipline recommendations.

Requires a public, transparent memo by PD for all departures from the Discipline Matrix and or where a penalty is less than CCRB’s recommendation.

Empowers CCRB by ensuring access to officer employment history for any substantiated allegations.

The Matrix, released earlier this month, outlines presumptive penalties for instances of officer misconduct, which may be adjusted up or down in a set window based on aggravating and mitigating factors. Penalties escalate with repeated offenses. The reforms aim to increase fairness in the disciplinary system, and increase trust in the system among both members of the NYPD and the public, by improving: Accountability with penalties that are fair and proportional to the misconduct 

Transparency, so that both members of service and the community know what discipline to expect when an officer breaks the rules. 

Consistency, so similar actions are treated similarly, and there is greater concurrence between the CCRB recommendations and NYPD decisions on penalties.

The discipline reforms are part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to fulfill the Obama Foundation Reimagining Policing Pledge. The pledge, in partnership with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, calls for Mayors to review, engage, report and reform. That multi-step process allowed the City to bring true community input into the formation of the discipline guidelines. 

Beginning with the end of the stop-and-frisk era, the New York Police Department has continued to evolve, embarking on over seven years of reforms.  The City has worked to develop policies that focus on making the lives of both residents and their communities, as well as those of officers, safer.  

These reforms have led to tangible results. Between 2013 and 2019: Overall arrests fell 45 percent; misdemeanor arrests alone were more than cut in half 

Criminal summonses plummeted by 80 percent, from nearly 425,000 in 2013 to less than 86,000 in 2019. 

Stop-and-frisk encounters were down 93 percent, to less than 14,000 in 2019. 

As part of the larger New York State Police Reform and Reinvention Collaborative, the City undertook an extensive community engagement process last fall to develop a concrete set of additional, new reforms that will allow police to better serve residents. After receiving extensive feedback from City officials, the New York City Police Department, justice advocates, and other stakeholders, the City will publish its initial set of new reforms in the coming weeks for public comment before bringing to the City Council for ratification on or before April 1st.