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2016 Comprehensive Safety Winner
New York Police Department (35,000 sworn, 17,500 civilians)
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton launched a campaign to reengineer the entire department with the goal of giving everyone a voice as they identified areas of concern and then examined ways to improve upon them. The reengineering project involved 16 groups comprised of 94 teams, for a total of 1,231 members, 77% of whom were from the rank and file of the department. Every member of the department was able to contribute through an online suggestion box. Of the 477 recommendations that were made related to officer safety and wellness, 230 of those recommendations are being implemented, 64 were approved but with some modification, and 82 are awaiting further review.
The recommendations were broken down into three pillars: Officer Safety, Professional Development, and Officer Well-being.
The Officer Safety initiatives include: smart phones for every officer with access to real time information departmental databases, as well as field reporting capabilities. On the first day that the new phones were issued, officers filing a report with the reporting person’s information were notified that they were wanted on an active Homicide warrant.
Officers have received new tactical training in the department’s “Tac House” and officer’s train together as a unit for three days. The department has also adopted new electronic control weapons and replaced their former Oleoresin Capsicum (Pepper spray) with a stronger dosage. 13,000 new vests have been purchased to replace older ones as well as new holsters as being provided as needed.
In the area of Traffic Safety, the department created “Arrive Alive” posters, and instituted a daily safety reminder that is broadcast over the police over the radio by the dispatchers. A series of video testimonials were created using stories created from the experiences their own members.
The second pillar of Professional Development has initiatives that include a new, state of the art training facility with mock banks, court rooms, subway trains, apartments and a restaurant for scenario based training.
In one new twist, recruits are sent out to their commands before they graduate to then work with a field training officer and gain an understanding of real street work. They then complete their training with a stronger foundation and better prepared to perform.
The NYPD also offers a continuing education program and scholarship programs to encourage its members to advance their education.
Under the third pillar of Officer Wellness initiatives, the agency has developed a cardio vascular fitness program with 2,000 participants, and provided access to 14 fitness centers that members can use. These centers offer Zumba, Boxing, Yoga, and nutritional information.
The wellness program also has a mobile health van that goes out to each of the Precincts for onsite health screenings and immunizations.
There is a new Employee Relations Unit that provides grief counseling, suicide prevention, a military liaison unit, a chaplains unit (multi-religious) and an agency wide peer support program “POPPA” (Peer Officers Providing Police Assistance). The Employee Relations Unit also instituted the text based “R.U. OK/” program for smart phone users.
In order to provide information on all of these resources and upgrades and changes, the NYPD has its own magazine that is published monthly and uses its media services to produce new video messaging.
The Commissioner himself has adopted technology and currently has 32,000 twitter followers.