Int. No. 881
By Council Members Williams, Lander, Arroyo, Brewer, Cabrera, Chin, Comrie, Dromm, Ferreras, Garodnick, Jackson, James, Koppell, Lappin, Levin, Mark-Viverito, Mendez, Palma, Reyna, Rodriguez, Rose, Van Bramer, Wills, Foster, Eugene, Barron, Vann, Dickens, Greenfield, Gonzalez, Mealy, Weprin, King, Richards and Halloran
A Local Law to amend the New York city charter, in relation to establishing an office of the inspector general for the New York city police department.
Be it enacted by the Council as follows:
Section 1. The New York city charter is hereby amended by adding a new chapter 18-E to read as follows:
OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
§ 470. Purpose and Establishment of Office. Independent oversight of police operations leads to improved police practices and a more accountable police force. Establishing an inspector general for the New York city police department will enhance the effectiveness of the department, increase public safety, protect civil liberties and civil rights, deter police misconduct, and increase the public's confidence in the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations. To achieve the goal of an effective and accountable police force, and to allow the city council to achieve its mandate of reviewing on a continuous basis the policies and practices of city agencies, there is hereby established an office of the inspector general for the New York city police department with all powers necessary to conduct independent reviews of the department's policies, practices, programs and operations.
§ 471. Inspector General. Appointment, Reporting, and Removal.
a. Not later than 45 days after the effective date of the local law that added this chapter or after a vacancy in the office occurs, the speaker of the city council, the chairperson of the city council's public safety committee, and the chairperson of the city council's civil rights committee shall recommend to the mayor candidates to serve as inspector general for the New York city police department. Such recommendations may be made jointly or separately and shall be made public. Such recommendations shall be non-binding on the mayor and shall not limit the consideration of other candidates by the mayor.
b. Not later than 90 days after the effective date of the local law that added this section or after a vacancy in the office occurs, the mayor shall appoint an individual to serve as inspector general for the New York city police department for a term of 7 years, renewable once. The appointment shall be without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity, a demonstrated ability in law, public administration or investigations and a demonstrated commitment to the protection of civil liberties and civil rights.
c. The inspector general shall not be a current member of the New York city police department or have served in the department within the last 10 years, nor shall the mayor transfer any responsibilities for the operation of department programs or activities to the office of the inspector general.
d. The inspector general shall report to and be under the supervision of the mayor, and shall not report to, or be subject to supervision by the commissioner or any employee of the department. Neither the mayor nor the commissioner (or any other employee of the department) shall prevent or prohibit the inspector general from initiating, carrying out, or completing any review, or from issuing any subpoena during the course of any review.
e. The inspector general may be removed from office by the mayor. The mayor shall communicate in writing the reasons for any such removal to the council no later than 30 days before the removal.
§ 472. Duties and Responsibilities.
a. Subject to subdivision (b), it shall be the duty and responsibility of the inspector general to:
(1) Review the policies, practices, programs, and operations of the department;
(2) Make recommendation to improve the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations, including for the purpose of promoting civil liberties and civil rights;
(3) Review existing and pending legislation, regulations, orders, and directives relating to the policies, practices, programs, and operations of the department and to make recommendations in the semiannual reports required by section 473 of this chapter, or as needed, concerning how such legislation, regulations, orders, and directives may impact on civil liberties and civil rights and on the effectiveness of the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations; and
(4) Keep the mayor, the commissioner, and the council fully and currently informed, by means of the reports required by section 473 of this chapter and otherwise, concerning the impact of the department's policies, practices, programs and operations on civil liberties and civil rights and on the department's effectiveness, any problems or deficiencies in the department's policies, practices, programs and operations, and on recommended corrective actions and the progress made in implementing such corrective actions.
b. The inspector general shall coordinate with the civilian complaint review board and the internal affairs bureau and any other relevant agency regarding reviews on matters where the offices share jurisdiction with a view toward avoiding duplication where possible.
c. The city council may recommend that the inspector general conduct particular reviews.
d. The inspector general shall create a mechanism for the public to submit requests for reviews on matters within the mandate of the inspector general. This mechanism shall provide methods for the public to submit such requests in writing or online via a secure website. The inspector general shall respond to such requests made by the public and provide an explanation for rejecting or accepting the requests.
e. Within one month of the initial appointment, the inspector general shall initiate, and within eight months shall complete, a review of the documentation and record-keeping policies and practices of the department, in order to determine whether these policies and practices result in the generation and preservation of sufficient documentation to enable effective oversight by the inspector general of the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations. The inspector general shall issue a report regarding the review that shall identify any deficiencies in documentation and record-keeping policies and practices and shall recommend any changes that the inspector general deems necessary. This report shall be circulated and made public in the same manner as the semiannual reports described in section 473 of this chapter.
f. Whenever the inspector general has reasonable grounds to believe there has been a violation of federal, state, or city law, the inspector general shall report such potential violation to the appropriate authority.
g. Deputy Inspector General
(1) Within one month of the appointment of an inspector general, the inspector general shall appoint a deputy inspector general, who shall be appointed without regard to political affiliation and solely on the basis of integrity, demonstrated skill in conducting audits and complex investigations and a demonstrated commitment to the protection of civil liberties and civil rights. The deputy inspector general shall not be a current member of the department or have served in the department within the last 10 years.
(2) It shall be the duty of the deputy inspector general to serve as a liaison between the department and the office of the inspector general. The deputy inspector general shall establish and maintain an office and regular physical presence at department headquarters. The inspector general may assign additional duties to the deputy inspector general.
§ 473. Reports.
a. The inspector general shall, not later than April 30 and October 31 of each year, prepare semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the office during the previous six months. Such reports shall include, but need not be limited to:
(1) A description of significant findings from reviews, including any problems and deficiencies, relating to the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations disclosed by such activities;
(2) A description of the recommendations for corrective action made by the office;
(3) An identification of each recommendation described in previous semiannual reports on which corrective action has not been implemented or completed;
(4) A description of recommendations made on pending legislation and regulations under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of section 472 of this chapter;
(5) A summary of matters referred to prosecutorial authorities and the prosecutions and convictions that have resulted; and
(6) A listing and brief summary of each report issued by the office during the reporting period.
b. The semiannual reports described in subdivision (a) shall be furnished to the mayor and commissioner not later than April 30 and October 31 of each year and shall be transmitted within 30 days by the mayor to the speaker of the council, the chairperson of the council's public safety committee, and the chairperson of the council's civil rights committee, along with:
(1) Any comments by the mayor or the commissioner; and
(2) An explanation by the commissioner for any recommendations described in previous semiannual reports on which corrective action has not been implemented or completed.
c. In addition to the semiannual reports, the inspector general shall report promptly to the mayor and commissioner whenever the inspector general becomes aware of particularly serious or flagrant problems or deficiencies relating to the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations. The mayor shall transmit any such report to the speaker of the council, the chairperson of the council's public safety committee, and the chairperson of the council's civil rights committee within seven calendar days, together with a report by the commissioner containing any comments the commissioner deems appropriate.
d. Within 30 days of the transmission of any report to the council, the inspector general shall make copies of the report, subject to subdivision (e) below, freely available to the public on the office's website, and shall make hard copies available to the public upon request and at a reasonable cost.
e. (1) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize the public disclosure of information if:
(A) A provision of the law specifically prohibits its public disclosure; or
(B) The information pertains to a specific ongoing, predicated police investigation and would, if disclosed, interfere with that investigation, unless that information already has been included in a public record.
(2) It is the responsibility of the inspector general, based on information provided by the commissioner, to determine whether information contained in a report falls within paragraph (1) of this subdivision, except that the commissioner may prevent the public disclosure of the names and personally identifying information of informants, other sources, witnesses, and suspects.
(3) The inspector general may consider additional requests by the commissioner to withhold information if the commissioner demonstrates that the public disclosure of information would cause a specific and imminent threat to the safety of the city, except that under no circumstances may the inspector general on the basis of this provision fail to report a significant problem or deficiency with the department's programs or operations.
(4) If the inspector general determines that a report contains information that falls within paragraphs (1) or (3) of this subdivision, or if the commissioner determines that the report includes information falling within paragraph (2) of this subdivision, the inspector general shall release the report to the public with said information redacted.
§ 474. Authority of Inspector General; Obligations of the Department and Other Agencies; Budget.
a. The inspector general, in carrying out the functions of the office, is authorized to:
(1) Have prompt access to all records, reports, audits, reviews, documents, papers, recommendations, or other material available to the department that relate to policies, practices, programs, and operations that are the subject of oversight by the inspector general, which materials shall also be provided to the inspector general electronically when available;
(2) Conduct such reviews relating to the policies, practices, programs, and operations of the department as are, in the judgment of the inspector general, necessary or desirable;
(3) Request such information or assistance as may be necessary from any federal, state, or local governmental agency or unit thereof;
(4) Issue subpoenas, which shall be enforceable by order of any court of competent jurisdiction, to compel the attendance and testimony of such persons as the inspector general may deem necessary, and to require the production of all information, documents, reports, answers, records, accounts, papers, and other data in any medium (including electronically stored information, as well as any tangible thing) and documentary evidence that the inspector general may deem necessary;
(5) Administer or take from any person, or to designate an employee of the office to administer or take from any person, an oath, affirmation, or affidavit, which shall have the same force and effect as if administered or taken by or before an officer having a seal;
(6) Have direct and prompt access to the commissioner when necessary for any purpose pertaining to the performance of functions and responsibilities of the office; and
(7) Select, appoint, and employ such officers and employees as may be necessary for carrying out the functions, powers, and duties of the office, subject to any applicable provisions of federal, state, or local law regarding such appointments.
b. Any ongoing partnership or cooperation between the department and any federal, state or local agency or department must be pursuant to a written agreement that expressly permits the inspector general to review the activities of the department or its officers undertaken in connection with that partnership or cooperation.
c. (1) If the inspector general makes a request for information or assistance from a city agency or unit under paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of this section, the head of such agency or unit shall promptly provide the inspector general with such information or assistance unless such provision is prohibited by law.
(2) The department and other relevant city agencies or officers shall promptly assist the inspector general with obtaining any security clearances that are necessary in order for the inspector general to have full access to information that the inspector general deems necessary for an investigation.
(3) Every officer or employee of the city shall have an affirmative duty to cooperate fully with the office of the inspector general and to provide prompt access to records as described in subdivision (a) of section 474 of this chapter. The inspector general shall promptly report any lack of cooperation to the head of the relevant agency or establishment. Interference with or obstruction of an investigation conducted by the inspector general shall constitute cause for removal from office or employment or other appropriate penalty.
(4) The refusal of an officer or employee of the city to answer questions put forward by the inspector general as part of a review into the department's policies, practices, programs and operations shall constitute cause for removal from office or employment or other appropriate penalty.
(5) The civilian complaint review board and the internal affairs bureau shall report to the inspector general any and all information concerning the department's policies, practices, programs, and operations which they know or should reasonably know to fall within the jurisdiction of the inspector general as defined in this chapter.
d. The office of the inspector general shall not be physically located within any department facility.
e. (1) The budget for the office of the inspector general shall be separate units of appropriation comprised of at least one personal service unit of appropriation and at least one other than personal service unit of appropriation.
(2) The inspector general shall, not later than March tenth of each year, transmit a proposed budget for the office of the inspector general to the mayor and the speaker of the city council, including a detailed itemized estimate of the financial needs of the office.
(3) All changes to the inspector general's proposed budget by the mayor shall be identified in the executive budget submitted to the city council and shall include comments submitted by the inspector general on the changes made by the mayor. The inspector general shall be required to submit comments if he or she believes that the changes proposed by the mayor would substantially inhibit the ability of the office of the inspector general to perform its duties.
(4) The mayor, subject to appropriation, shall ensure that the inspector general has sufficient funds to fulfill his or her mandate
§ 475. Complaints by Employees.
a. The inspector general and the deputy inspector general may receive and investigate complaints or information from an employee of the department concerning the possible existence of problems or deficiencies with respect to the department's programs or operations. Such complaints may be made anonymously.
b. The office of the inspector general shall not, after receipt of a complaint or information from an employee under subsection (a) above, disclose the identity of the employee, if known, without that person's consent, unless the inspector general determines such disclosure is unavoidable in order to investigate an allegation effectively or is required by law.
c. Any employee who has authority to take, direct others to take, recommend, or approve any personnel action, shall not, with respect to such authority, take or threaten to take any action against any employee as a reprisal for making a complaint, disclosing information to the inspector general, or for responding to queries from the inspector general unless the complaint was made or the information disclosed with the knowledge that it was false or with willful disregard for its truth or falsity.
d. In the event that the inspector general concludes that there is reason to believe retaliation against an individual has occurred, the inspector general shall conduct an investigation and forward the findings to the mayor, commissioner and the council.
§ 476. Websites.
a. The inspector general shall maintain a website that shall include:
(1) Information on the office's responsibilities and activities;
(2) Reports by the office to be posted not later than 3 days after they are made publicly available. Such materials shall be made easily accessible from a direct link on the homepage of the website of the office, include a summary of the findings of the inspector general, and be in a format that is searchable and downloadable and that facilitates printing; and
(3) A direct link on the homepage of the website of the office for individuals to report any problems and deficiencies relating to the department's policies, practices, programs and operations. Such individuals shall not be required to provide personally identifying information.
b. The department shall establish and maintain on its website's homepage a direct link to the website of the office. The link shall be obvious and facilitate accessibility to the office's website.
§ 477. Definitions. As used in this chapter:
a. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the New York city police department;
b. "Council" means the New York city council;
c. "Department" means the New York city police department; and
d. "Office" means the office of the inspector general.
§ 2. Severability. If any provision of this chapter or any other provision of this local law, or any amendments thereto, shall be held invalid or ineffective in whole or in part or inapplicable to any person or situation, such holding shall not affect, impair or invalidate any portion of or the remainder of this local law, and all other provisions thereof shall nevertheless be separately and fully effective and the application of any such provision to other persons or situations shall not be affected.
§ 3. Effective Date. This local law shall take effect immediately.
LS 2951 and LS 3296