NYPD Eliminates Entire Plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit In 'Seismic Cultural Shift'

If you want to be a criminal right now, NYC is the place.

After City Hall moved to strip $1 billion from the NYPD budget in the coming years, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced Monday afternoon what he described as "a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this city." To wit, the largest police force in the country will eliminate its plainclothes anti-crime unit.

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea

No officers will be fired due to the decision; rather, they will be transferred to detective units, or new 'neighborhood policing' units that will focus on the community policing model that some less-radical progressives who favor reform over police abolition have advocated. Shea said the unit is being shuttered because its officers are more likely to shoot suspects, whether armed or unarmed, according to a local TV station.

The decision is a consequence of the two weeks of unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd, while the killing of a black man in Atlanta Friday night by an APD officer has triggered major disruptions in the department, including prompting the resignation of the police commissioner in that city.

Across NYC, the NYPD often has plainclothes officers stationed in park cars around known hot spots - typically low-income neighborhoods where hard drugs are bought and sold, or where gang-related violence is more common. While it's not clear exactly what this unit was responsible for, the connotation is that the department will be pulling hundreds of cops off the street.

Notably, the NYPD decision comes just a day ahead of a White House press conference where President Trump is supposed to outline the administration's policing reform plan, which might be more comprehensive than critics expect.