It’s amazing the things you can find out in front of a Hell’s Kitchen police stationhouse, again, again, and yes, yet again–but this most recent discovery is by far the most encyclopedic and fun of the bunch. The three-ring binder entitled “Fast Track Guide” is a “promotional exam preparation course” from 2002 for NYPD officers looking to become white shirts. It was sitting inside a locker that was getting tossed along with a department-issue turtleneck and contains chapter after chapter of interesting law enforcement factoids on everything from stop-and-frisk to pepper spray and bloodhounds.
Below are over a dozen of our favorite ones.
Stop-and-frisk – a controversial tactic in which the NYPD routinely search blacks and Hispanics for being black and Hispanic – has a very robust section. It is devoted to citing all the circumstances that stop-and-frisks are permissible and according to the guidelines, “Frisk, only IF reasonable suspicion you or another in danger.” Ah, so it’s all about weapons.
But how about drugs?
According to these guidelines: 1) “Search only the area inside clothing that may be a weapon.” 2) “Never search for evidence (example: drugs).” That’s odd considering all the minorities that are arrested for weed when they’re stopped and frisked. So does that mean the NYPD is running a trifecta of unlawful activity by racially profiling, abusing stop-and-frisk and not following the law by arresting young people for what they otherwise would have gotten a desk appearance ticket? Yup.
HANDCUFFING STUDENTS ARRESTED WITHIN SCHOOL FACILITIES
Like stop-and-frisk, the police are arresting a disproportionate amount of black and Hispanic students in city schools and charging them with offenses that some argue would be better suited for detention, of the after school kind. Regardless, according to NYPD policy, students should be cuffed like common criminals: “The Department’s policy, for the safety of all concerned, will be to rear handcuff students who are arrested in a school facility unless mitigating circumstances dictate not to.”
If students between 6- and 17-years-old are observed on the street during school hours, they can be frisked, if need be, handcuffed and then…brought to school?
USE OF PEPPER SPRAY DEVICES
There has to be an updated rule for pepper spray, because there’re no officers following the procedure as stated in this book, especially during Occupy events:
“Pepper spray shall not be used in situations that do not require the use of physical force.”
Or this: “Hold pepper spray in an an upright position, aim and discharge pepper spray into a subject’s tees for maximum effectiveness, using two (2) one second bursts, at a minimum distance of three (3) feet.” Someone’s not following the rules.
USE OF TEAR GAS
If your clothes have been doused with tear gas, there’s no need to get your cleaner involved:
“Contaminated clothing or uniforms should be thoroughly aired and washed with soap and water before being worn. Dry cleaning will NOT remove tear gas residue.”
REVISION OF PATROL GUIDE PROCEDURE 212-71, “GUIDELINES FOR THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC/VIDEO EQUIPMENT BY OPERATIONAL PERSONNEL AT DEMONSTRATIONS”
According to the guidelines in this book, the NYPD’s audio/video squad, TARU, can document demonstrations “if the permissible objective is the reasonable believe that criminal activity and/or arrest activity will occur during a demonstration.”
It also gives this seldom followed directive: “[P]hotographs/video should generally not contain close-ups of participants in the demonstration, but should focus on police tactics and behavior.” Anyone whose been to an Occupy march has seen the contrary take place.
GUIDELINES FOR UNIFORMED MEMBERS OF THE SERVICE CONDUCTING INVESTIGATIONS OF UNLAWFUL POLITICAL ACTIVITY
The most time-honored tradition in the history of the republic is still lawful in NYC, unless said political activity is unlawful.
Apparently, “ANY” source will do, which is terrifying:
“When information is received from ANY source regarding demonstrations, public meetings or other political events which require a member of the Intelligence Division’s Public Security Section to attend such activities without disclosing police affiliation and investigate the political activity involved, the information will be referred to a ranking officer in the Protective Intelligence Unit Intelligence Division.”
UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE REPORTS
Like the document says, an “unusual occurrence” is “substantially more than an ordinary occurrence because of its seriousness, peculiarities, sensationalism, vastness, differences, newsworthiness, or potential to affect police-community relations involving interracial/ethnic conflict or community unrest.” Basically, lots of situations. But fear not. Should this happen, officers are told: “Whenever an unusual incident occurs, take immediate emergency action…”
SEARCHES FOR ARMED/DANGEROUS PERSONS ON NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT TRACKS
The following must come as good news to cops who don’t appreciate having to run into NYC subway tunnels: “In most instances, it is not necessary to remove power or to actually enter the tracks when searching tunnels and track areas. Searches are normally conducted by members riding in the lead cars of trains passing in both directions through the affected area.” This should come as good news for urban explorers and graffiti writers alike.
Being a diplomat in New York City is king: “Diplomats shall NOT be arrested or personally served with a summons (emphasis and underlining theirs).
When it comes to checkpoints, here’s some good news drivers, assuming there’s a side street:
“It should be emphasized that motorists who avoid a checkpoint by lawful means may not be stopped. If police have not blocked off a side street within a checkpoint, and a motorist turns down it, the motorist may not be stopped unless another lawful reason exists to stop the motorist.”
UNLAWFUL POSTINGS OF SIGNS
I assume this means street art:
“Upon observing an unauthorized sign posted on a gutter, lamppost, telephone pole or tree within the public boundary of a public street or highway: Remove the sign, if possible, and place it in a trash basket.” Terrible advice. Put that shit on eBay or sell to Jonathan Levine.
USE OF DEPARTMENT CANINE TEAMS
There’s a wide range of “authorized tactical uses” for dispatching patrol K-9 units, from tracking suspects to search for “felony suspects within the transit system, but not all police dogs are made equal. While German Shepherds are great to sic on a suspect, they’re not as good as bloodhounds when it comes to locating things, as long as said item is not at the point of origin: “A bloodhound will only trail from an uncontaminated scent article toward a person (living or dead). They are not trained to trail from a person (living or dead) to the origin of the trail (backtrack).”
PROCESSING NON-EVIDENCE CURRENCY
Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began, protesters have made note of the fact that the NYPD has a cushy relationship with Chase. That could help explain this branded dummy check bearing the bank’s logo in the section on processing currency.
(Top photo: bogieharmond/flickr)