In what he described as a "seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices," New York's Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the disbanding of a unit of plain-clothed police officers who combat crime by blending in with the general population.
"I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of ‘Stop, Question, and Frisk'… I think it's time to move forward and change how we police in this city," Shea said. "We can do it with brains. We can do it with guile. We can move away from brute force."
The announcement comes as protests over police tactics and brutality continue to roil the country and as crime has increased in New York specifically.
Until the announcement, the anti-crime unit made up of 600 officers would take up positions known as hot spots for drugs and gang activity. This would primarily be in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods.
Despite Mayor Bill de Blasio's pledge to cut $1 billion from the NYPD's budget, none of the officers who serve in the soon-to-be disbanded plain-clothes unit are being fired. They will all be transferred into detective units for the time being.
Not everyone is pleased with Shea's decision, including Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association of the City of New York.
"Anti-Crime's mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence," Lynch said in a statement. "Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have clearly decided that proactive policing isn't a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences."
Shea has said the move is "squarely on my shoulders."
➡️ Go Further: Follow Disrn's full coverage of the protests and riots here.