It has been a difficult year for the NYPD, with nine suicides and two officers killed in the line of duty as a result of friendly fire including the latest, Detective Brian Mulkeen, who was buried on Oct. 4.
On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James O’Neill tried to turn the page in College Point, where 697 recruits were sworn in at the NYPD’s 32-acre Police Academy campus. The new class is the most diverse in city history with more than 60 percent from a minority group. Additionally, 27 percent are women and 23 percent were born outside the United States in 40 different countries speaking 28 different languages.
“This morning was really a joy, the huge class, 697 recruits, to see the new energy coming into our department,” de Blasio said. “To see the hope on the faces of so many of these good young people who have made such an important choice. They are in it because they want to serve others and they think this is the very best way to do so.”
In addition, 60 percent of the recruiting class lives in the five boroughs.
“It is crucial to understand that this new generation coming into the police department, they hear about the philosophy of neighborhood policing and they get it,” de Blasio said. “It makes sense to them. It’s something they want to be a part of. It’s something they’re going to help us build and make stronger, so it’s really a good day for this department.”
Neighborhood policing has been credited with driving monthly crime stats to historic low since it was launched in 2017, and last month, NYPD numbers showed that crime across the five boroughs has dropped 2.6 percent year-to-date as of Sept. 30.
“While crime in New York City remains down thanks to the tireless work of the men and women of the police department working in close partnership with community members, we are focused on violent crime and the persistence of gun violence,” O’Neill said. “We continue to work with our partners in law enforcement, and in the communities we serve, to combat the criminal activity and ensure safety in every neighborhood.”
While shootings are still up year-to-date, they are down for the month of September which saw the lowest numbers of shootings of any September in the CompStat era. However, Queens Borough North is up 15 shootings year-to-date. Police officials blame the uptick on small, neighborhood gangs.