Based largely on audiotapes recorded secretly by New York City patrol officer Adrian Schoolcraft in his interactions with his supervisors, the author of this book (the investigative reporter who first broke the story) develops the argument that patrol officers were evaluated by supervisors on the number of tickets issued for stop-and-frisks, disorderly conduct, and misdemeanors, while under-reporting or misrepresenting the number of serious crimes.
This supervisory pattern is traced to the pressures put on the precinct commanders by the CompStat system of police data collection and analysis for the purpose of assessing the effectiveness of police strategies in reducing serious crime. At the time of Schoolcraft's tenure as a New York City police officer, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was promoting the importance of police enforcement of minor law violations (disorderly conduct, loitering, etc.,) and increasing the number of stop-and-frisk stops as a means of preventing serious street crime. Under CompStat data, precinct commanders' performance was measured by an increase in the number of tickets written for minor offenses (quotas were instituted by some commanders) and the decrease in arrest statistics for more serious street crime. Schoolcraft, who complained of having his performance measured under such a system, began audiotaping his interaction with supervisors in discussions of his performance and what was expected of him. The book reports that in March 2013, Schoolcraft's tapes were played in the chambers of the U.S. District Court in the "stop-and-frisk" class action trial. The author states that "the rough voices of police bosses under CompStat pressure" were "echoing across the room, and resonating across the city." In addition, the author argues that the "growing support for an independent inspector general for the police is another piece of evidence that his (Schoolcraft's) ordeal was not a waste." A subject index
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