Cabán lays out ‘new vision for public safety’ policy platform for NYC

Former public defender Tiffany Cabán releases a plan reimagine the city’s approach to public health and community safety. (QNS/File)

When she nearly won the race for Queens district attorney in 2019, former public defender Tiffany Cabán made ending the borough’s carceral system a cornerstone of her campaign. Now as a candidate for City Council, the Astoria resident has expanded on that core goal as part of her new vision for public safety across the five boroughs.

Cabán released a policy platform written in collaboration with and informed by community members, activists, experts and movement leaders. If enacted, the plan will divest funds from the NYPD, invest in job creation in neighborhoods most impacted by over-policing and implement data-driven initiatives that Cabán says are proven to reduce crime and keep communities safe.

Her platform would fund the creation of the following services:

  • Community Safety Centers, which are community-led, holistic care-focused hubs for neighborhood service providers, including family support, violence prevention and mediation; racism and hate response funds; and Crisis Intervention Teams.
  • Integrated Service Facilities, with safe consumption services, treatment programs, peer support, legal support for housing, healthcare, immigration and jobs; and comprehensive services for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Citywide scaled-up counseling and health services, wraparound services and restorative programming – including at every school.
  • Non-police systems for responding to transportation or traffic-related issues.
  • Comprehensive mental health and crisis response services, including community-based treatment programs and non-police 911 health care responders.
  • A Civil Life Corps that handles quality-of-life related matters and day-to-day issues that arise and require resolution but do not warrant involving law enforcement.

“This is a public safety plan. It’s a roadmap that empowers people, not police, to keep our communities safe,” Cabán said. “For too long, New York City has spent billions of dollars funding the police to respond to health issues they are ill-equipped to handle, from mental illness and substance abuse to violence. Our inhumane prison-industrial complex has made one thing abundantly clear: the police and jails do not keep our communities safe. This has been a multi-generational fight that continued this summer when we took to the streets to demand justice and change. It’s past time to put forth bold solutions to make those calls for justice a reality.”

Cabán’s platform is built on the premise that fully funding public safety means fully funding the services that generate good health and neighborhood stability. While divesting from the “bloated NYPD budget” is a fundamental component, her plan describes the programs that “must be invested in,” while proposing a comprehensive and scaled-up non-policing emergency and crisis response apparatus.

The alternative system of investments laid out in the policy would prioritize and scale public health evidenced-based approaches, including non-police emergency healthcare responders, community-based-and-led safety initiatives, restorative justice programming, investments in personnel that provide support including liberation-focused social work, violence prevention and legal services that address needs pertaining to housing, healthcare, employment and immigration.

“We have been reminded through this pandemic that the NYPD perpetuates violence and racial inequity,” said Theo Oshiro of Make the Road Action. “Reforms have failed to change policing in New York City and across the country, and our communities can’t continue to wait for incremental change. Tiffany Cabán’s vision is a real blueprint for reducing the funding, power and scope of the police department and creating public safety by investing in our communities.”

Cabán is running to replace Councilman Costa Constantinides in District 22 which covers Astoria as well as Rikers Island and parts of Jackson Heights, Woodside and East Elmhurst.