New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio emphasized the need to constantly improve and reform the New York Police Department (NYPD), as the force is prepared for Election Day.
“There’s no question in my mind that that’s the right approach. That’s the way forward. Constant reform, constant changes, discipline when someone does something wrong,” said the mayor while appearing live on the Brian Lehrer Show on New York City’s public radio station WNYC on Friday.
“We need the NYPD to constantly improve when it comes to its relationship with the community through a neighbourhood policing strategy, when it comes to disciplining officers who do the wrong thing, when it comes to managing peaceful protests properly,” he added, Xinhua news agency reported.
Meanwhile, the mayor highlighted the promotion of Juanita Holmes as the Chief of Patrol on Thursday, which made her the highest ranking woman uniformed officer in the history of the NYPD.
“She will have more officers under her than any woman in American history,” said de Blasio.
Holmes, together with a number of other women and African-Americans and Latinos who were named Thursday, would continue to “create a more representative and diverse and responsive NYPD,” he added.
The mayor’s remarks and Holmes’s promotion came as the NYPD is preparing itself for the patrolling work around Election Day, Nov. 3, when millions of votes will turn out to choose the next president of the country.
“We’re going to be prepared for a lot of protests, prolonged protests, potentially different protest groups confronting each other. It’s too early to tell what that’s going to look like. But what we’re going to emphasize is, you know, peaceful protest, as always, is going to be respected and facilitated,” the mayor told the radio show.
“Anyone who’s protesting, it’s going to be respected, but if anything turns violent, we’re going to move to stop that immediately,” he added.
The NYPD has announced to devote more resources to the election this year than in previous years because of the nature of the current presidential race.
Officers will be dispatched to monitor 1,201 polling stations around the city on November 3, including 708 public schools and new polling sites at Madison Square Garden and Lincoln Center in Manhattan, and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, according to the NYPD.