senate Bill S6853
(D, WF) 33rd Senate District
- In Committee
- On Floor Calendar
- Passed Senate
- Passed Assembly
- Delivered to Governor
- Signed/Vetoed by Governor
Requires the municipal police training council to promulgate rules and regulations regarding psychological evaluations for certain members of the police force of a city with a population of one million or more.
TITLE OF BILL:
to amend the executive law, in relation to requiring the municipal
police training council to promulgate regulations regarding
To require that police officers receive periodic
psychological evaluations who are primarily tasked with patrolling
the streets on a day to day basis.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
To require that police
officers who are
involved on a day to day basis in patrolling and safeguarding the
streets are to be assessed and are able to maintain their fitness for
duty by periodic (every three years) psychological evaluations.
The job of a police officer is and may be one of the
toughest occupations that a person may engage in, short of active
military duty. Studies have shown that many members of the military
may suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and not even be
aware of it.
Moreover, the police department requires that officers routinely
qualify with regard to their proficiency with their service weapons.
A failure to qualify may in and of itself have adverse consequences
to their employment. The incongruity becomes patently obvious when
and if an officer is psychologically unfit, but nevertheless an
A recent look back at some tragic circumstances lends credence to the
need for continuous evaluation of the mental fitness of these brave
men and women who have chosen to protect and serve in harrowing
conditions on a daily basis.
On Thanksgiving Day 1976 P.O. Robert Torsney shot Randolph Evans a 15
year old (unarmed) Brooklyn boy in the head at point blank range
after a brief conversation and drove back to the 75th Pct. where he
was arrested. At his trial in October 1977 he was found not guilty by
reason of insanity and remanded to a State mental hospital. On
December 20, 1978 a Brooklyn Supreme Court ordered Torsney's release
stating "he no longer posed a threat to society."
Since that date to the present there have been a number of unjustified
police shootings, involving unarmed citizens. Most recently the
shooting death of Ramarley Graham (18) an unarmed youth who was shot
and killed in his bathroom on February 2, 2012 after police broke
into his building and apartment illegally and that has sparked a
great deal of public controversy.
In homage to this issue the New York Police Department (NYPD) recently
modified the rules concerning the use of deadly physical force. The
NYPD official patrol-guide, in the section referencing the use of
firearms, inserted the words "in their professional judgment." The
passage now reads: "Police officers shall not discharge their weapons
when, in their professional judgment, doing so will unnecessarily
endanger innocent persons."
"Professional judgment" by definition means "the ability to judge,
make a decision - or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and
wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense;
discretion:" Professional judgment requires the utilization of ones
faculties to making quantitative decisions and/or problem solving
skills which may be impaired if there are psychological deficits.
Take effect immediately after it shall become a law.
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