They’re bigger than a driver’s license and not very detailed, but the New York Police Department is hoping an informational card will improve relations between police officers and those they stop to question about crime, Newsday reports. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly acknowledged the inconvenience of being stopped and called the card an effective way to explain the stops. The New York Civil Liberties Union says the cards avoid the real issue – why hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are stopped for no reason at all.
The card, “What is a Stop, Question and Frisk Encounter?” cites the penal code section that gives police the legal authority to stop someone. On the back it lists four general reasons why someone might be stopped, such as “carrying what appears to be a weapon” and “reports of suspicious or suspected criminal activity.” Police officers started giving out the card about 10 days ago during stops in three precincts comprising a pilot program, in Harlem, the Bronx, and in Brooklyn.