New York State Senator Leroy Comrie proposed new legislation that would remove the mayor’s power to pick the NYPD’s Commissioner. As per the proposed bill, the NYPD Commissioner would become an elected position.
At the time of writing, Senator Comrie had not provided a comment on the logic behind the proposed law. However, according to The NY Post, there was a memo attached to the bill. “Local governments all across our state currently hold popular elections for a wide variety of public service administrative positions, such as sheriff, coroner, supervisor, receiver of taxes et al,” the memo read.
According to the bill’s language, the law will apply to cities with a population larger than 100,000. The elected police commissioner will be subjected to a two-year limit, serving four years per term. However, the idea of this bill was rejected for several reasons. Critics have pointed out that a less-than-qualified candidate may end up elected for the position of police commissioner. It was also pointed out that the bill would heavily politicize what is supposed to be a neutral office in an already politically toxic environment.
“The last thing we need is to inject more politics into the management of the NYPD. Police commissioners already serve at the pleasure of a democratically elected mayor. We need them to be law enforcement professionals who are fully focused on protecting our city, not running for office,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said to The NY Post.
An anonymous veteran police officer agreed with Lynch that it was not the best idea. “Worst. Idea. Ever. Being police commissioner – especially given New York politics – should not be a popularity contest. It needs to be immune from this toxic political environment,” he said. “The mayor needs autonomy over the police department. The job of a police commissioner is about expertise and not electioneering. The democratic process lives with the mayor.”
Senator Comrie has proposed the bill in two previous legislative sessions. LittleAfrica News previously covered another piece of legislation proposed by Comrie. Prior to this proposed bill, Comrie proposed legislation that would expand the number of charter schools in New York and ensure that they had more Black and people of color in leadership positions.