Bratton says he’ll change, not end, Operation Impact

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Bill Bratton. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton today confirmed plans to overhaul Operation Impact, a centerpiece the department's Ray Kelly-era crime-fighting strategy, but denied the overhaul would go quite as far as a report suggested. 

A Times report said Bratton planned to “fundamentally alter” the program, which floods high-crime areas with rookie officers, by first placing rookies “in local precincts.”

After an unrelated NYPD event at One Police Plaza this morning, Bratton said, “There was a story I understand in this morning’s New York Times that may have misrepresented what I am planning to do.”

Bratton told reporters he wanted to “once again use the recruits to come out of the academy and go through a more comprehensive recruit-training environment in their first year and not just go into Operation Impact.”

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Bratton emphasized the additional oversight rookie officers would get from more experienced colleagues on the force. "Operation Impact is not going away," he said. "I hope to potentially expand it using seasoned officers, or these young kids teamed up with a seasoned officer. The concern I have is you have ten or twelve of them assigned to one supervisor. I want to give these kids a much better training opportunity."

Bratton noted that in the Los Angeles Police Department, where he was chief for seven years, first-year officers are assigned to work with "field training officer and if there's not a field-training officer, they don't go out into the field." Referring to rookies in the NYPD, he said, "I want to develop more of an intimacy for those young people."

"The goal  is to have rookies get into "precinct assignments and have Operation Impact move toward a largely overtime operation or, using officers who are very familiar with the area [who also] have some intimacy with an area, rather than a lot of officers who have really no experience with an area being asked to go in cold with limited supervision," he said. 

The change announced today follows up on criticisms Bratton made last June about the lack of oversight rookie cops have in Operation Impact, and how, if bad habits are learned early on, they may last a lifetime.

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president, Patrick Lynch, released a statement saying the move is “consistent with the union’s philosophy of training" and that “Using rookies to meet numbered targets under the former system resulted in many of the problems we are now in the process of solving.”