NYPD removes page from “Minority Report” – using computerized early warning system to identify potentially problematic cops.
The data-driven program – which is reminiscent of the 2002 sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise, whose character arrested the killers before they hit – was revealed Tuesday in a report by the Inspector General of the NYPD Philip Eure on lawsuits against the department.
Police quietly adopted the risk assessment accountability and information system known as “RAILS” in October 2017, according to the report.
RAILS compiles information from several NYPD databases and other sources, including the Civilian Complaint Review Board and the five city attorney’s offices.
The high-tech software analyzes the data and produces “performance indicators” in six categories, including multiple misconduct allegations, suspensions and other disciplinary actions, shootings and arrests involving police that prosecutors refuse to prosecute – probably because they don’t want to put the cop on the witness stand.
“Within each category, the NYPD has established a set of thresholds which, if met, will trigger a RAILS alert on the officer,” the report said.
“Supervisors are required to acknowledge all alerts, take action to correct the agent’s behavior, and record those actions in RAILS by responding to a drop-down menu of suggested interventions. “
The report also indicates that prosecutions alleging police misconduct increased slightly last year, to 1,586 from 1,389 in 2017, but notes a 72% increase in “use of force allegations” in prosecutions.
During this time, settlements rose from 1,136 to 991, with total payments falling from $ 138.5 million to $ 55.6 million, with the large variance being partly attributed to the 15 agreements of $ 1 million or more concluded in 2017.
Between 2014 and 2017, the Brooklyn and Bronx cops racked up both the highest number of misconduct lawsuits and the biggest total payouts of $ 136.6 million and $ 104.6 million, respectively, according to the report.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch called the premonitory system “the result of a surveillance regime gone mad” that “invents new ways to penalize grassroots police.”
“The only sure way for the cops to avoid setting off a false ‘red flag’ in the RAILs will be to avoid taking coercive measures as far as possible,” he warned.
Sergeant’s Union leader Ed Mullins called the RAILS “just another way to [city officials] to say, “We have surveillance. “
“They are crushing a very successful police service. In 10 years, they will look back and regret it, ”he said.
“Because New York City was a cesspool in the 1970s and 1980s, and what cops see on the streets is that criminals are emboldened. “
The NYPD would not say if action has been taken against the cops who were flagged by RAILS, but pointed to figures in the report which show misconduct prosecutions have fallen by nearly 50% since 2014.
“This reflects the success of the department’s merit-based work with litigation data to improve officer performance and improve policies and practices,” Sgt. Jessica McRorie said.