Legal Aid Society


LTE: NYPD Must Re-Evaluate Police Priorities to Mitigate Spread of COVID-19

Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society, penned a letter to the editor in today’s New York Daily News calling on the New York City Police Department to re-evaluate its policing policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as infection rates continue to skyrocket amongst rank and file officers.

Legal Aid recently sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea urging the NYPD to drastically reduce unnecessary arrests by increasing the use of verbal warnings, non-criminal citations, and appearance tickets for all low-level offenses. This recommendation is consistent with what has been urged by public health experts as well as the International Association of Chiefs of Police — the world’s largest professional association for police leaders.

“It is unconscionable that frontline responders are forced to work without adequate personal protective equipment,” Wong writes. “But the problem for NYPD officers’ safety goes beyond lacking PPE; it is the failure of our leadership to re-evaluate policing priorities during a pandemic despite a decrease in overall crime and a rapid increase of confirmed COVID-19 cases amongst NYPD.”