What an inspector general for the New York Police Department might look like

Police in Lower Manhattan. (warmsleepy via flickr)
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Here's a bill being introduced today that would create the office of Inspector General for the New York Police Department, something Councilman Brad Lander has been advocating.

The I.G. would have subpoena power and would be allowed to initiate reviews of the department based on information from the public, or recommendations by the City Council.

Also, any city official who doesn't fully cooperate with an I.G. investigation could be fired, according to the bill.

The I.G. with such independent powers would almost certainly have an impact on the NYPD commissioner and mayor's control of the force.

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NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department already has more oversight "than any other police agency, probably in the world."

Browne counts among the entities with oversight capacity two U.S. attorneys based in New York, five district attorneys, the Civil Complaint Review Board and Commission to Combat Police Corruption.

There are asterisks in most of those cases. The U.S. attorneys clearly operate independently of the NYPD and City Hall, but are not explicitly charged with investigating the country's largest police force. The CCRB only recently was given broader power to pursue cases against officers. And the CPC is "tiny, with a modest budget," as the Times put it, and has no subpoena power.

Other highlights of the I.G. legislation:

The I.G. would serve a seven-year term that could be renewed by the mayor once.

The Council speaker, chair of the Public Safety Committee and chair of the Civil Rights Committee can make non-binding recommendations as to who the inspector general should be.

The mayor can remove the inspector at any time as long as he or she states in writing a reason for doing so 30 days in advance.