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De Blasio: Politics Could Block Effective NYPD Inspector General

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - There's a renewed push for New York City to follow most other major cities and set up an inspector general's office to oversee police policies like stop-and-frisk.

But, election year politics could play a big role, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that what he called the overuse of stop-and-frisk should show that "the inspector general is an idea whose time has come in New York City."

De Blasio: Politics Blocking Creation Of NYPD Inspector General

"I think if we had an inspector general at the NYPD with the independent power of oversight I don't think we would've let stop-and-frisk get out of control the way it has," de Blasio told 1010 WINS. "I think there would've been some real accountability and there would've been some checks and balances."

A bill has enough support in the City Council to override a veto by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Speaker Christine Quinn has yet to allow a vote.

"Perhaps because of her pledge related to the commissioner," said de Blasio, who is also running for mayor. He was referring to her pledge to keep on Police Commissioner Ray Kelly if she's elected mayor.

LINK: Public Advocate's Full Letter To Quinn And Kelly

The speaker said this week that he's in negotiations on the plan to create an inspector general to oversee police policies.

"This is a 'we won't be fooled again moment,'" de Blasio told Silverman. "We've been to this movie before."

He said he's afraid that the inspector general that emerges won't have subpoena power or a budget that's protected from the whims of the powers that be.

In a letter to Quinn and Kelly released Tuesday, de Blasio laid out the precise provisions necessary for an Inspector General to succeed:

  • Budget Protection and Independence. One of the surest ways to cut the legs out from under a watchdog agency is to cut its funding, and therefore its ability to investigate issues and take action. The budget of an NYPD Inspector General must constitute its own line-item, maintained as a fixed proportion of the overall NYPD budget.
  • Real Oversight and Investigatory Powers. To truly provide accountability over departmental policies and not just individual complaints, the Inspector General must be armed with the real ability to subpoena whatever people or documents it deems necessary in its investigations. It cannot rely on an outside entity for its teeth.

"I'm drawing a line in the sand today to say that only an inspector general bill with real teeth will help us solve the problems we face," de Blasio told Silverman.

A spokesman for one of the bill's sponsors, Councilman Jumaane Williams, said that talks are continuing and nothing is final as of yet.

Quinn's office had no immediate comment.

Do you think the NYPD needs an inspector general? Sound off below.

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