For the second week in a row, NYPD officers sharply cut back on their activity in the streets, apparently using their own discretion to arrest less than half as many people and write 90 percent fewer summonses than in the same period a year ago, The New York Times reports.
In the entire city, 347 criminal summonses were given out, down from 4,077 a year ago, according to police statistics, and parking and traffic tickets also dropped by more than 90 percent. So in essence, they are getting paid with taxpayers' money to go on a "virtual strike."
Now, Commissioner William Bratton is confronted with the same sort of problem he faced the first time twenty years ago: a reactive force getting paid to make its own decisions.
He acknowledged the sagging morale of the police force, fueled by the police unions who consistently blame the mayor. But still, Bratton said, his department would look into the matter:
"I will look very specifically — precinct by precinct, tour of duty by tour of duty, sector car by sector car, officer by officer — and we will deal with it very appropriately, if we have to," he said. "We may see that things begin to return to normal on their own volition."
But by all appearances, it may be a while before things pipe down. The head of the Fraternal Order of Police said on Monday that Congress should expand the federal hate crimes statutes to cover assaults directed at law enforcement officers, reported the Huffington Post.
"In the last few years, ambush attacks aimed to kill or injure law enforcement officers have risen dramatically. Nineteen percent of the fatalities by firearm suffered by law enforcement in 2014 were ambush attacks," said Chuck Canterbury, national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
"Enough is enough! It's time for Congress to do something to protect the men and women who protect us."