Requires the municipal police training council to promulgate rules and regulations regarding psychological evaluations for certain members of the police force of a city with a population of one million or more.
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring the municipal police training council to promulgate regulations regarding psychological evaluations
PURPOSE: To require that police officers receive periodic psychological evaluations who are primarily tasked with patrolling the streets on a day to day basis.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: To require that police officers who are involved on a day to day basis in patrolling and safeguarding the streets are to be assessed and are able to maintain their fitness for duty by periodic (every three years) psychological evaluations.
JUSTIFICATION: The job of a police officer is and may be one of the toughest occupations that a person may engage in, short of active military duty. Studies have shown that many members of the military may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and not even be aware of it.
Moreover, the police department requires that officers routinely qualify with regard to their proficiency with their service weapons. A failure to qualify may in and of itself have adverse consequences to their employment. The incongruity becomes patently obvious when and if an officer is psychologically unfit, but nevertheless an expert marksmen.
A recent look back at some tragic circumstances lends credence to the need for continuous evaluation of the mental fitness of these brave men and women who have chosen to protect and serve in harrowing conditions on a daily basis.
On Thanksgiving Day 1976 P.O. Robert Torsney shot Randolph Evans a 15 year old (unarmed) Brooklyn boy in the head at point blank range after a brief conversation and drove back to the 75th Pct. where he was arrested. At his trial in October 1977 he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and remanded to a State mental hospital. On December 20, 1978 a Brooklyn Supreme Court ordered Torsney's release stating "he no longer posed a threat to society."
Since that date to the present there have been a number of unjustified police shootings, involving unarmed citizens. Most recently the shooting death of Ramarley Graham (18) an unarmed youth who was shot and killed in his bathroom on February 2, 2012 after police broke
into his building and apartment illegally and that has sparked a great deal of public controversy.
In homage to this issue the New York Police Department (NYPD) recently modified the rules concerning the use of deadly physical force. The NYPD official patrol-guide, in the section referencing the use of firearms, inserted the words "in their professional judgment." The passage now reads: "Police officers shall not discharge their weapons when, in their professional judgment, doing so will unnecessarily endanger innocent persons."
"Professional judgment" by definition means "the ability to judge, make a decision - or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion:" Professional judgment requires the utilization of ones faculties to making quantitative decisions and/or problem solving skills which may be impaired if there are psychological deficits.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: None.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: Take effect immediately after it shall become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6853 IN SENATE March 29, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. RIVERA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Finance AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring the munici- pal police training council to promulgate regulations regarding psychological evaluations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 840 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 66 and such section as renumbered by chapter 603 of the laws of 1973, is amended to read as follows: 2. A. The council shall promulgate, and may from time to time amend, such rules and regulations prescribing height, weight and physical fitness requirements for eligibility of persons for provisional or permanent appointment in the competitive class of the civil service as police officers of any county, city, town, village or police district as it deems necessary and proper for the efficient performance of police duties. B. THE COUNCIL, IN ADDITION TO THE RULES AND REGULATIONS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH A OF THIS SUBDIVISION, SHALL PROMULGATE, AND MAY FROM TIME TO TIME AMEND, SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS, REQUIRING EVERY POLICE OFFICER, APPOINTED IN THE COMPETITIVE CLASS OF THE SERVICE, FOR ANY CITY WITH A POPULATION OF ONE MILLION OR MORE, TO UNDERGO A PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION UPON ENTRY INTO SUCH SERVICE, AND UPON EVERY THIRD YEAR THEREAFTER, TO DETERMINE WHETHER SUCH OFFICER HAS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER OR ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES, WHICH MAY AFFECT HIS OR HER ABILITY TO SERVE AS A POLICE OFFICER, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT APPLY TO POLICE OFFICERS WHO ARE NOT ASSIGNED TO PRECINCTS, WHO ARE NOT ASSIGNED TO ACTIVE DUTY ON PATROL OR WHO SUPERVISE POLICE PERSONNEL WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO ACTIVE DUTY ON PATROL. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14658-01-2