NYPD chief of patrol on disbanding anti-crime unit: 'It's based on building trust with the community'

New York Police Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo appeared on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday to explain New York City’s move to disband the anti-crime unit in the city's police force.

“I have been part of this conversation for the better part of the last 8 months and as chief of patrol, certainly you’ve alluded to it. I had 77 precincts with over 600 anti-crime police officers. But, I am also in charge of the cornerstone of what we accomplished in the last five years of this police department with neighborhood policing when we launched it in 2015,” Pichardo told “America’s Newsroom.”

Pichardo said that it was based on building trust with the community through respect, accountability, and transparency.

“And that’s where we’re at right now. This is yet another layer. We’re doubling down on our efforts to tell the public, every New Yorker, that the foundation in everything that we do in policing, certainly in this great city, is rebuilding that trust,” Pichardo said.

“It works both ways. That mutual respect and this is another piece of that pie."

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The New York City Police Department on Monday announced it is disbanding its anti-crime unit and reassigning hundreds of plainclothes officers to other divisions amid widespread criticism over the department’s handling of protesters.

Commissioner Dermot Shea said roughly 600 plainclothes officers from the anti-crime unit will be reassigned to other teams.

The disbanding follows the suspension of an NYPD officer for discharging mace on a protester during a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Two other officers have been suspended, a third was place on modified duty, and a precinct commander has been transferred.

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch criticized the disbanding, warning that city leaders will have to "reckon with the consequences."

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Police departments nationwide have come under intense criticism in recent weeks amid the death of Floyd, a black man, in the custody of a white Minneapolis police officer. Floyd’s death, and law enforcement’s crackdown on protesters, have ignited calls to reform police departments.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law on Friday a sweeping package of police accountability measures that received new backing following protests over Floyd's killing, including one allowing the release of officers' long-withheld disciplinary records.