As stop-and-frisk goes on trial at Manhattan Federal Court, another hearing on the state of the police department happened in Jamaica, Queens last night. At a mayoral debate, seven candidates discussed the NYPD, focusing on stop-and-frisk, commissioner Ray Kelly, and the proposal to create an independent inspector general to oversee the department’s operations.
The highest-profile candidate, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, took the opportunity to distance herself from Mayor Bloomberg, with whom she’s worked closely in her seven years as speaker. Though Quinn maintained she will let Kelly keep is job if she’s elected, she also vocally supported the Inspector General proposal, which Bloomberg and Kelly both strongly oppose.
For many, Quinn’s allegiance with and similarities to Bloomberg are either her biggest selling point or most glaring fault. As the race moves forward, it will be interesting to see the ways in which she aligns or distances herself from Bloomberg’s policies, especially on such hot-button issues as the NYPD. Last night, ever so slightly, she inched away.
The inspector general plan would “enhance the effectiveness of the department,” Quinn said, “And at the same time will increase the public’s confidence in the police force, building stronger police-community relations.” The speaker also claimed that if any veto came in, the council would have the votes to override it.