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by Peter Moskos

April 6, 2010

Arrests in the NYPD

I've always said the Blue Wall of Silence is vastly overrated (for reasons I'm not going to get into today).

Do cops get away with murder, literally or figuratively? The short answer is no. Unless, of course, one counts traffic violation and illegal parking as murder.

What I do find interesting is that the NYPD, as reported by Al Baker and Jo Craven McGinty in the Times, arrests an average of 119 officers a year. That's more than two a week. And about four times more than I would have guessed. Is that a lot or a little? I don't know. (But of course if the NYPD were arresting no officers... now that would be worrisome.)

To put this in some perspective (albeit in a way that doesn't really make sense) there is approximately one adult arrest for every 23 residents in New York City. In the NYPD the figure is one in 300. Anybody know the comparable stats for other cities?


Jeff N said...

If this information was published yearly and pushed it into the news cycle instead of being forced to turn it over by a FOIA request, it would do a lot to change the minds of people like me.

I am suprised by this for a different reason than you. I would have assumed, like you, that the arrest rate would be lower. But not because of lack of corruption, because of lack of internal policing.

The fact that there were so many arrests puts a dent in my views of police corruption.

Anonymous said...

The term "Blue Wall Of Silence" is misunderstood by pretty much every policeman and ex-policeman. Please allow me to clear up what critics mean when they use this term


Policemen don't snitch when they do bad things in the line of duty with the intention of fighting crime. If a policeman does an illegal search or seizure and then lies about the circumstances that lead up to it with the tacit approval of colleagues who know better -- that is "Blue Wall Of Silence." If policemen throw down a roach or knife or gas soaked rag or whatever -- that is "Blue Wall Of Silence." When policemen say that the dashcam is broken or that some subway platform had no cameras -- that is "Blue Wall Of Silence." When policeman say that the speeding patrol car had its sirens on when it it was really running dark -- that is "Blue Wall Of Silence."


Policeman molests kids, is arrested. No "Wall." Policeman takes advantage of drunk woman. No "Wall." Policeman takes kickbacks from speeders in lieu of tickets. No "Wall." Policeman deals drugs. No "Wall." Policeman ingests drugs (other than steroids or alcohol, of course). No "Wall."

Time and time again on police board, policemen cite these no-wall situations to show there is no wall. They don't show that. All they show is that the term is misunderstood (probably on purpose).

qintuq said...

This definitely isn't always or everywhere true. Michael Dowd for example....