49th Precinct Community Council officially supports stop-and-frisk

Joe Thompson stands at the podium as he goes over a non-binding measure to support stop-and-frisk before the 49th Precinct Community Council. Members vote in favor of the policy.
Photo by David Cruz

Joe Thompson, head of the 49th Precinct Community Council, is making an argument supporting the NYPD tactic known as stop-and-frisk.

“It’s our best deterrent,” declared Thompson, sipping coffee at the Rainbow Diner in Pelham Parkway on Thursday, October 4.

He knows. He’s stopped and frisked suspects numerous times when he toured Mott Haven streets in the 1970s. Back then he was Police Officer Joseph Thompson.

The former NYPD detective tested support of the measure within the Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Eastchester and Allerton communities at the latest council meeting on Tuesday, October 2. Before putting the measure to a non-binding vote, Thompson debunked claims that cops do not racial profile, a common criticism hurled at stop-and-frisk.

Crime stats have consistently shown a high number of minorities are stopped and frisked.

The Four-Nine saw 8,495 stop-and-frisk reports last year, with black and Latino residents making up 86% of those who’ve been stopped. The precinct ranked 36th out of 76 citywide precincts who utilize the policy.

“Cops only go where the crime is,” said Thompson, himself an African-American.

But support of the measure came with several caveats, including better training on the policy for new recruits and refresher courses for veteran officers.

Members were handed ballots. A vote was taken. The result was an audience overwhelmingly supporting stop-and-frisk. It’s the first time the council has taken an official position on the NYPD policy.

The measure was part of a broad list of items the council wishes to see happen within NYPD ranks. One measure called for police recruits to stay with the force for a mandatory three years before looking for work outside the city.

“We lose a $75,000 investment,” noted Thompson, running the numbers over the cost of recruit training.

The final measure called for the NYPD to impose mandatory psychological testing for officers three years while on the force and every five years after that.

“It’s for the protection of that officer primarily,” said Thompson, aware the Police Benevolent Association will fight request should it become mandatory.

With votes tallied, Thompson has drafted letters to Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Mike Bloomberg, expressing support for all three measures. The move signifies a shift from the 49th Precinct Community Council as a body that simply hears complaints to one that seeks to influence change within the NYPD.

He’s encouraging other councils to do the same.

“It’s time for every community to speak for themselves and everybody can be heard,” said Thompson.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or dcruz@cnglocal.com.

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383

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