Bloomberg on stop-and-frisk: ‘We are not going to walk away from tactics that work’

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During Mayor Michael Bloomberg's regular Friday-morning radio appearance, he said the police department's announced reevaluation of its stop-and-frisk practices were not prompted by a new class-action law suit, and that the administration is in no way "going to walk away from tactics that work."

Yesterday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly announced, via a letter to Council Speaker Christine Quinn, that the stop-and-frisk program, which all of the 2013 Democratic mayoral candidates say needs to be reformed, was being reviewed and fine-tuned. The came a day after a federal judge gave class-action status to a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the tactic.

When radio host John Gambling asked Bloomberg if there was any causal relationship between the two, Bloomberg said, "No, this is something if you go back and look, six weeks ago, Kelly began a process really of making local precincts' commanders responsible for stop-and-frisk, and reporting and checking the quality."

"And Kelly is always trying to figure out ways to train the officers better, to make sure that the community understands what we're trying to do," the mayor added.

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Bloomberg disputed common criticisms of the programming, saying, "We believe that we are in compliance with the law. We don't racial profile. We look to see where the crime is, and whatever the ethnicity of that neighborhood is, that's what it is."

Nor, said the mayor, were cops being pushed to increase their stop-and-frisk numbers to meet productivity goals.

"If it's a tactic that the police department chooses to use, the management is going to tell the cops to do it, sure," he said. "We don't have quotas. But John, nobody suggests you send cops out there and say, 'Yeah, do whatever you want.'"

He called critics of the tactic as it is now employed "a handful of people who don't like any policing whatsoever who are out there screaming."

"We are not going to walk away from tactics that work," he said. "And we're not gonna walk away from bringing crime down.