Now We’re Censoring Cops Chatting in Public!

Now We’re Censoring Cops Chatting in Public!

By Stephen Owsinski

The image above depicts three U.S. Capitol Police officers, smiling during a shared conversation outside the world-renowned Capitol Building in D.C., where lawmakers represent the people’s interests by scripting statutes enforced by cops across the country. Gobs of communication transpire on The Hill, as it should wherever humans convene for imperative, principled purposes…such as public safety.

Communication is key among our species; you know, humans being humans, exercising God-given vocal cords, relating to one another, no matter their profession or affiliation or whatever. In law enforcement, communication is paramount to ensure the greater good.

Any occupation in which we observe two-way radios, like those avidly employed in policing to share details toward helping keep people safe, implies the need to convey words. The same concept applies without radios, relying on in-person chatter accompanied by human expressionism to form a relatively solid perspective.

In the case of cops, sharing their observations of potentially calamitous situations is the lifeline for LEOs and citizens alike. Now, a metropolis mayor wants more hush from his crimefighters…

If New York City Mayor Eric Adams has a say and gets his way, beat cops in the Big Apple will be made to be snobbish to one another, by order of Hizzoner. Good grief!

Recently, the New York Post reported on an internal NYPD memo directing cops to curtail communication and to thin out strength-in-numbers precepts: “Do not congregate, or engage in unnecessary conversation, with other members of the service while on the post, absent police necessity,” is what the brass at One Police Plaza admonished. Command staff held the pen, the mayor pushed it.

With the ABCs established, communication is a gift for all. Yet cops must be mum. Why?

This particular order was born of Mayor Adams coming upon a cluster of cops in Manhattan, chastising them for chatting and admonishing them to spread out in fewer numbers. With NYC’s gargantuan populace, any solo-patrol cop is significantly the underdog. This doesn’t mean they won’t bravely go it alone, it just means they’re much more vulnerable in a highly volatile city whose governance has gone bat-guano soft-on-crime.

(Photo courtesy of the NYPD.)

Reporters were in proximity and overheard Mr. Adams addressing police officers assigned to a bicycle event: “How about scattering out, so we ensure safety and deploy personnel? We have not been deploying our personnel correctly.”

More dignity-stealing and devaluation by politicos who should know better. After all, Mr. Adams is a former NYPD police captain who darn well knows the value and necessity of cops communicating wherever they may be, whether in the throes of preempting criminal events as a group or solo. Whether participating in the corps of public relations cops either while walking the beat, as a group, or solo.

Otherwise, are we to revert to Morse code? Rubber-band tiny notes to ankles of homing pigeons, which NYC has plenty of? Nah, flights may take too long and are not necessarily foolproof for police work requiring real-time messaging.

I suspect the party of Green New Dealers won’t like cops using smoke signals either, so that is off the table.

God gave us mouths to convey what is brewing in our brains, whenever wherever possible. In police work, convos among cops are abbreviated by using 10-codes (administrative lingo) and Signal-codes (the A-Z of types of crimes). Basically, cop-speak to shorten messages between one another as well as to/from public safety dispatchers. The common denominator: Cops must communicate.

If you’ve ever observed a group of LEOs anywhere at any time, you’ve likely seen each one scoping different angles—slicing the pie.

As with my squad, particularly when working in any large-scale event, mutterings among cops typically convey sightings of suspicious activity to one another, so everyone is aware of potential problems brewing amid a busy congregation of people milling about rather swiftly. Covering the angles is crucial.

In NYC’s Times Square, it is common to see clusters of NYPD cops scrutinizing ever-present droves of citizens abuzz amid the landmark’s hive of exciting activities, certainly heightened after the bombardment on 9/11.

(NYC cops scanning pedestrian activities at Times Square. Photo courtesy of the NYPD.)

At one of the nation’s mega intersections appealing to tons of tourists, an assortment of predators lurks. Even NYPD surveillance camera operators at HQ make observations, then convey people/situations that just do not seem right.

Doubled-Edged Sword

The anti-police climate still permeating throughout the five boroughs (counties) comprising New York City has gotten to where assaults on NYPD officers have burgeoned.

I just read one of the latest reports of an NYPD cop getting “mugged,” albeit off-duty and alone while jogging, hospitalized with a “cracked skull and brain bleeding.” Officer Muhammed Chowdhury remains in a medically induced coma. (Despite depleted NYC police ranks being made to hush, detectives worked the streets with uniformed personnel and arrested one of the four suspects involved in the robbery of off-duty Officer Chowdhury.)

Donning identifiable police uniforms, cops are huge targets for unsavory types who bought into the ugly anti-cop specter generated by certain political figures and their propagandizing ilk undermining public safety.

The same anti-police climate has led to a continual exodus of NYC cops, now collectively tallied in the thousands, which unfortunately leaves the remainder skeletonized to increasingly imperiled degrees. Strength in numbers? We can only hope.

These factors make an already arduous job, one which guarantees that you will confront danger daily, even more treacherous.

On this note and in response to Mayor Adams, NYC Police Benevolent Association (PBA) figurehead Patrick Lynch reminded us of the dangerous dwindling of city cops and the fateful fallout thereof:

“The order is unnecessary. Pretty soon there won’t be enough cops left to congregate anywhere in the city, because these miserable working conditions and the low pay are forcing them to quit in droves.”

(NYC police commissioner posing with a group of cops in Manhattan. Photo courtesy of the NYPD.)

All the demands for more transparency many have been beckoning from law enforcement agencies have amounted to cops heightening watching each other’s back while trying to preserve ours.

As recently published by the NPA, memory lane policing illustrates how out-of-control our society has become while LEOs everywhere try feverishly to maintain order in an increasingly disordered climate fanned by polluted political winds, culminating in malicious people spouting off at the mouth while boldly wielding weapons at justice officials.

The Beat Goes On  

An anonymous comment from an NYPD detective hammered home the rhetoric so easily found in politics, especially nowadays, saying:

“This happens often — they’ll just reinforce some old, dumb policy when it benefits them and gets any [existing] negative publicity away from them. A few years back, an Upper West Side resident complained about officers not wearing their hats. And they sent inspectors out to write people up for not having hats on.”

Traditionally, NYPD officers are issued “pocket pads” in which they are required to write down their observations, activities, citizen contacts, matters needing other city departments’ attention, etc., detailing every tour of duty as time permits. Customarily, a sector “boss” wearing sergeant’s stripes would be driven by a patrol officer and meet up with beat cops, wherever they are assigned, and review/sign off on the pocket pads’ entries.

Nowadays, though, time allowances may be less frequent due to thinned-out staffing (exodus, poor pay) and the antithetical policies set by politicos (Psst, look who is in the background of the New York Post’s cover photo depicting the NY governor’s disdain for the opposing political party).

“It’s unbelievable how someone who was a captain of the NYPD lets the department implode to the point that he’s focused on cops congregating on the street. The man is losing touch with reality. Law enforcement across this country is falling apart due to [a] lack of leadership with the fortitude to support [the] police in the protection of life and property. What is happening in New York is a reflection of what is happening across America,” said retired LAPD police Sergeant Dennis Zine.

It would seem childish for any elected official (former cop or not) to dictate that cops shouldn’t talk amongst themselves when in the public eye. The public’s perception of seemingly snobbish police officers would undermine community relations principles. Or is this part of the liberal grand plan: To denounce and abolish law enforcement?

Perhaps ironic is the fact that a New York Post reporter published the following words earlier this year, describing Mayor Adams out in public:

“It’s all very well for Mayor Adams to stroll around Harlem with an entourage, mouthing video platitudes for social media, as the city laments the slaying of NYPD Officer Jason Rivera and the grievous wounding of his partner, Wilbert Mora.”

Both Officers Rivera and Mora perished together, while communicating on-duty observations, before their murderer uncloaked and unloosed evil intent. Even strength in numbers is not infallible. Solo patrol has much less of a chance of survival in Gotham’s contemporary climate whose enormous population includes crazies hell-bent on assailing and killing cops.

Crime is up. Anti-police rhetoric rings loud still. Sworn staffing is down. Stifling “chit-chat” among remaining police members is a dumb diktat.

Through recent years with rising entries posted to the Officer Down Memorial Page and cops from all over attending funerals of slain officers (thinning ranks in a horrid way), cops have been quiet enough.

The diminished dignity of our police personnel persists, compliments of jaded, pandering politicians who have a knack for governing recklessly.

But the beat goes on thanks to your community cops. Stick together. Get the word out…