Critics of the New York Police Department have seized on the killing of a man in a barrage of detectives’ bullets as proof of an undisciplined, gun-happy force. But statistics give a different picture, backing the NYPD’s insistence that its officers, overall, are well-trained and prudent. With more than 37,000 uniformed officers, the NYPD is by far the country’s biggest police force. Its sometimes notorious abuses have become national news, yet its officers have killed 11 people this year, fewer than some police departments in smaller cities, reports the Associated Press.
“There’s always a spotlight on the NYPD,” said Maki Haberfeld, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “But in terms of actual numbers of shootings, and their use of force, there’s no doubt in my mind they are one of the best departments (in) the country.” The NYPD’s image has shifted dramatically in the past decade. It was lionized in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and vilified before and since for various violent incidents, including the jailhouse torture of Abner Louima in 1997 and the 1999 killing of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo.