NYPD planning changes to stop-and-frisk policy

NEW YORK - (AP) - Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly on Thursday announced changes to officer training and supervision amid a growing public outcry and a federal lawsuit claiming the stop, question and frisk policy at the nation's largest department amounts to racial profiling. Kelly sent a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn detailing the changes. Quinn, a likely candidate for mayor, has been a vocal critic of the policy. Last year, more than 630,000 people were stopped, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half are frisked, and only about 10 percent are arrested. Kelly said in the letter that the steps were meant to increase public confidence in the tactic and that the New York Police Department has reiterated its policy that prohibits racial profiling. The department is also establishing an early warning system to identify officers who have received public complaints on the policy, and precinct commanders will be held accountable at weekly meetings. Kelly also created a new training course detailing how to conduct a lawful stop, following a review of the stop, question and frisk encounters. More than 1,500 officers who work in the highest-crime areas are receiving the training, and more will follow, Kelly said. The news comes a day after a federal judge gave class-action status to a lawsuit by people who had been stopped. The lawsuit accused the police department of purposefully targeting black and Hispanic neighborhoods and said officers are pressured to meet quotas as part of the program and are punished if they don't.

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