For two straight weeks, New York City police officers have sharply cut back on making arrests and issuing summonses, magnifying the growing divide between the police force and Mayor Bill de Blasio, the New York Times reports. Officers made half as many arrests in the seven days through Sunday as in the same week a year ago. In the entire city, 347 criminal summonses were written, down from 4,077 a year ago. Parking and traffic tickets dropped by more than 90 percent. Most precincts' weekly tallies for criminal infractions were close to zero. The drop presents a new challenge for the mayor and Police Commissioner William Bratton.
With officers in the largest U.S. police department largely ignoring low-level offenses, Bratton finds himself, for a brief moment, confronted with the kind of reactive force that he worked to shed two decades ago in New York City. Yesterday, Bratton said, “I will look very specifically — precinct by precinct, tour of duty by tour of duty, sector car by sector car, officer by officer — and we will deal with it very appropriately, if we have to.” He acknowledged the declining morale of officers, which union leaders have sought to attach to the policies of the mayor. Hundreds of officers have twice turned their backs when the mayor eulogized the two officers shot in their patrol car by a man who targeted them for their uniforms. De Blasio said the back-turning was “disrespectful to the people in this city, who, in fact, honor the work of the NYPD.”