NYPD Announces Re-Training Effort in Response to Eric Garner’s Death

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton (Credit: Getty Images)

The NYPD has caught a lot of flak following the July death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner at the hand of officer Daniel Pantaleo, most of which has centered on the controversial “broken windows” policy and the antagonistic culture it inculcates, both between cops and citizens, and within the minds of cops themselves. The aftermath of Garner’s death has turned the heat up on the NYPD, in particular Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, a staunch proponent of broken windows theory, and a man who finds himself with a lower approval rating than his predecessor ever had.

On Monday, Bratton appeared before the City Council to testify about a revamped training curriculum for officers as well as new crime-fighting initiatives that will require the hiring of 1,000 more cops.

During more than two hours of testimony, Bratton told the City Council that all officers will undergo a three-day, mandatory retraining initiative, learning de-escalation techniques with an emphasis on avoiding physical confrontation. (Why “avoiding physical confrontation” wasn’t previously emphasized remains a mystery.) The training will begin later this year with 600 officers; eventually, all 35,000 officers on the force will be retrained. The projected cost of the initiative is $30 million.

The commissioner furthermore reiterated his opposition to making chokeholds illegal—while the maneuver is prohibited by the NYPD rulebook, it’s not actually against the law. ““I feel that department policies are sufficient,” Bratton said (during testimony intended to raise funds in order to hire more officers and alter policy, it’s worth noting). “But if lawmakers want to try to make that against the law, good luck, but I won’t support it.”

Follow Phillip Pantuso on Twitter @phillippantuso.

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