We want to begin by applauding Edward Mullins, President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, for boldly taking a public position. In his message it is clear no one condones police corruption and he identifies a clear historical police cultural practice. No union official, police officer or citizen supports any practice where an officer would receive money or compensation for extending any courtesy.
The obligations of summons quotas should be eliminated permanently. Extending Police Courtesies versus “warned and admonishing” Police Discretion is an officer’s greatest tool and asset.
Extending police courtesies is not unique to New York but a common practice exercised both in the United States and abroad amongst Police Agencies. The “courtesy” was never meant to promote corruption or cover up misconduct. The “courtesy” is meant to reinforce one of the greatest police powers of “discretion”.
The New York City Police Department continues its campaign to destroy the power of discretion and have in managed to intimidate many officers. Illegal quotas, supervisory mandates and continuous pressure for Commanding Officers to outdo the “last year’s numbers” (from annual, year to date, month to month and week to week) all work to erode police discretion.
A message to all police officers:
The current investigation into “Police Courtesies” should put us all on alert but not intimidate officers from exercising their greatest power of “discretion”. Police courtesies, discretion, “warned and admonished” are inherently part of our arsenal of possible police outcomes. On a daily basis hundreds of citizens receive the benefit of your “courtesy”.
In the many potentially dangerous situations faced by police officers we should be at ease when we encounter a fellow law enforcement officer, law enforcement family member, or friend of law enforcement member. However, in this critical climate that is nearly impossible. There is nothing illegal about extending any courtesy, discretion or “warning and admonishing”.
However, that awesome power of discretion diminishes greatly after the initial encounter and when you introduce or exercise the formal legal processes, such as issuing a summons.
A message to the community:
As we go down this slippery road let’s be careful that police discretion is not taken away and we do not enter a police state. The hundreds and thousands of people who have benefited from police courtesy, discretion and “warned and admonished” should exercise the power of their voice and clearly state “police discretion yes, police corruption no”.
We encourage you all to fight the pressure of unwarranted and illegal quotas. Perhaps this latest attack will cause all the Unions to finally file a lawsuit against the NYPD’s quota system.