Police Commissioner Edward Caban said Wednesday that he remains hopeful changes will be made before the summer enactment of the How Many Stops Act, the police reporting bill that became law Tuesday when the City Council overrode Mayor Eric Adams’ veto.
Caban and other police brass spoke upon the controversial legislation on Jan. 31 less than 24 hours after the City Council approved the override. The new law requires officers to log nearly every interaction with the public while investigating a crime or a missing persons case.
Despite insistence from How Many Stops Act proponents and criminal justice advocates, including former NYPD members, that it won’t impact how officers do their job, police brass echoed Mayor Adams’ concerns in recent weeks that the requirements would bog down cops in filling out paper or online forms. The main issue for cops are “Level 1 inquiries” in which officers will need to report any individual they speak to regarding an ongoing investigation, including those who have no helpful information to provide.
The How Many Stops Act takes effect in July, and Caban said he hopes there will be time to try and amend the bill so officers are not overwhelmed with paperwork, and potentially slowing down 911 response times.
“We are still working on the language. We are still hopeful that we can still come to the table before July,” Caban said during a press briefing following his State of the NYPD address on Jan. 31.
Police say they are not concerned about level 2 and 3 stops, since they are more in-depth investigations and could rightly require more in-depth documentation and subsequent paperwork. However, they feel level 1 stops could pose a significant threat to department resources, in part, due to the high volume of 911 calls received each day.
“I will tell you that the New York City Police Department had about 8.5 million 911 calls last year alone. But as I said, hopefully we can come to the table and talk about it,” Caban said.
Some elected officials, such as Councilmember Gale Brewer have suggested that the forms cops are asked to fill out be displayed on their cell phones in hopes of making the process easier and faster. But Chief of Patrol John Chell feels even modern technology won’t make the workload any easier.
“To the police commissioner’s point, 8.5 million jobs. If that’s one person per job, which we know it’s not, that’s a lot of thumbing on a phone. So, it’s going to take time,” Chief Chell said.