Running parallel to the increased discussion of stop-and-frisk brought on by the federal trial over the practice and the coming mayoral election has been the question of police oversight. If the NYPD is indeed violating the rights of New Yorkers, should an independent monitor be brought in to oversee the department.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the answer to that question is a firm “yes.” In a statement released this week, the DOJ avoided speculating about the outcome of the stop-and-frisk trial, but maintained that if the court rules against the city, an independently-appointed monitor would be a crucial step towards remedying department practices.

“The experience of the United States in enforcing police reform injunctions teaches that the appointment of an independent monitor is a critically important asset,” the statement read, adding, “A court-appointed monitor in this case would help the court ensure that, if any pattern or practice is found to exist, it is effectively and sustainably remedied.”

Perhaps most satisfyingly for opponents of stop-and-frisk, the department implicitly called out Michael Bloomberg and police commissioner Ray Kelly over their position that monitoring would keep police from doing their jobs officially. “In the experience of the United States,” the department said, “reform through a court-ordered process improves public confidence, makes officers’ jobs safer, and increases the ability of the department to fight crime.”

Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin is expected to deliver a verdict in the stop-and-frisk case within the next few months.

(Photo: Cliff 1066/Flickr)