Police officials in New York battling a “stop-and-frisk” class action lawsuit have offered an interesting defense for encouraging officers to reach a certain number of stops: cops are just lazy.
Commanders and lawyers have spoken up in the stop-and-frisk trial in attempts to counteract the testimonies of whistle-blowing police officers who claimed that their superiors are forcing them to stop people on the street without much reason to do so.
The commanders have struck back, claiming that the so-called quotas were goals they had set in place in order to get lazy police officers out of their vehicles while on shift. Secretly taped police station recordings illustrate how the commanders are constantly battling laziness, and how some police officers will only do real work if they are getting paid overtime.
“You have 10 percent that will work as hard as they can, whenever they can, no matter how bad we treat them, how bad the conditions are,” said Joseph Esposito, who was the NYPD’s highest ranking uniformed officer up until his retirement in March. These officers “love being cops and they’re going to do it no matter what.”
Esposito also spoke of the other extreme, “You have 10 percent on the other side that are complete malcontents that will do as little as possible no matter how well you treat them.”
Esposito said that most of the ticket-writing and stops occurred when officers were on overtime pay.
One of the tapes released in court recorded a conversation between a Bronx police chief and one of his officers who only had two citations for an entire year.
“We’re still one of the most violent commands in the city,” Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack said on the tape. “And to stop two people, you know, to see only two things going on, that’s almost like you’re purposely not doing your job at all.”
As the trial continues, it has become increasingly clear, according to the police commanders, that they are simply trying to battle poor work ethics.
“I think we’re charged with trying to get the police officers to work, do the things that they’re getting paid for,” said John Beirne, the Police Department’s deputy commissioner for labor relations.