A revision to the NYPD patrol guide issued to police officers and supervisors Tuesday, obtained by the New York Post, orders officers not to gather together in public. The order comes just a few weeks after Adams was caught on video scolding officers who were conversing with one another during a bike ride earlier this month.
“Do not congregate, or engage in unnecessary conversation, with other members of the service while on post, absent police necessity,” the order instructs officers, per the New York Post. The memo gives similar instructions to police supervisors. “Ensure members of the service do not congregate, or engage in unnecessary conversation, with other members of the service while on post, absent police necessity,” it reads.
“Police officers and supervisors will be held strictly accountable for these provisions,” the memo added, via the New York Daily News. The rule changes are intended to “enhance officer safety, deployment strategies and optimize presence in the field.”
The order comes just weeks after Adams publicly chastised a police supervisor about police officers who were gathered together while on a security detail.
A video of the incident, taken by City & State NY political reporter Jeff Coltin, shows Adams talking to a supervisor about spreading officers apart during a Summer Streets bike ride on August 6. “How about scattering out, so we ensure safety and deploy personnel?” Adams said, via Coltin. “We have not been deploying our personnel correctly.” In the video, Adams can be seen talking to police. “They’re on the route, have them along the route. They should not all be congregated together,” Adams said. He then points to a pair of officers chatting on a street corner, with a third officer nearby, and what appears to be another officer at the next block.
Police officials fired back at the memo, pointing out that it may eventually be unnecessary because NYPD officers have continued a mass exodus from the force during Adams’ tenure. “The order is unnecessary,” NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the Post. “Pretty soon there won’t be enough cops left to congregate anywhere in the city, because these miserable working conditions and the low pay are forcing them to quit in droves.”
A veteran Manhattan police officer with more than two decades on the force, speaking to the Post anonymously, also blasted the memo for placing emphasis on the wrong priorities. “Worry about crime in the city and stop worrying about cops congregating,” the anonymous cop said. “Worry about your transit system and how it’s out of control. Worry about your shootings. Officers can’t even walk around their own neighborhood without getting their ass kicked.”
The NYPD is in the midst of a continuing exodus from the force. According to the New York Post, nearly 2,500 officers have filed to leave the Department in 2022 alone, hundreds more than the more than 1,700 police officers who quit in 2021.
Even more concerning, the number of officers who are leaving the force before they reach the 20-year threshold to receive their full pension benefits has skyrocketed; nearly 1,100 officers are filing to retire before making 20 years in 2022, compared to 641 officers in 2021.