New York’s response to violence will include restoring plainclothes police force, mayor says

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Adams told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that the city will “immediately” reinstate an “updated version of a modified plainclothes anti-gun force,” a step he called for on the campaign trail.

Plainclothes police units have been criticized by some as outdated policing practices, and the NYPD has reassigned many of them in 2020. However, Adams, who took over in the new year, said his team “has done a proper analysis and now we’re going to deploy it.”
They are the fourth and fifth NYPD officers to be shot and killed since the start of the year, though NYPD officers aren’t the only victims of gun violence: An 11-month-old girl was shot in the face and killed during a firefight. Trapped in the Bronx. Wednesday’s shooting left her in a critical condition.
Adams did not provide details about the plainclothes units or how they would operate, but said his administration would present a plan to New Yorkers this week. In an interview with CNN last month, incoming NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said such a department would focus primarily on gun crime.

Sewell has asked district commanders to pick candidates for the converted plainclothes anti-gun unit, according to a city official. The official said Sunday that the department’s focus is on keeping illegal guns off the streets, and those selected must undergo specific training.

The exact number of officers that will be involved remains unclear, the official added, and it will depend on how many people in each jurisdiction are identified as potential candidates. Additionally, the official said, some communities will be assigned more officers than others, based on the level of crime the community typically sees.

Adams told CNN that the larger plan rolling out in the coming week will focus on addressing “the root cause of the crime you see in our city.” Among them, the flow of guns to city officials since Friday’s shooting has attracted much attention. According to authorities, the gun used by the suspect, a Glock 45 stolen in Baltimore in 2017, is in critical condition when he was shot by a third NYPD officer while trying to escape.

“We have to stop the flow of guns,” the mayor said. “We’re removing thousands of guns from the streets, and it seems like every gun we remove from the streets has five guns coming in. That’s unacceptable.”

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The crime rate has been rising in recent months, although it has not approached the levels of the early 1990s. In November, the most recent month the city released data, crime was up 21.3 percent from a year earlier, according to the NYPD.

In addition to reintroducing the plainclothes police force, the city will work with mental health professionals to respond to incidents in the subway system, Adams said.

Adams’ announcement comes more than a week after the death of Michelle Alyssa Go, 40, after being pushed onto an incoming train track at the Times Square 42nd Street subway station, in what Commissioner Sewell called an “unprovoked” incident.

Adams said police and mental health professionals will work as a team to “eliminate the disease that is clearly present in our city’s subway system.” Together, the teams will be “more proactive, not just reactive,” the mayor added.

“We shouldn’t wait for someone to take a dangerous action when we know they are at the station first,” he said. “When you see a dangerous person there, mental health professionals will be deployed immediately, that person will be given appropriate care and removed from our subway system.”

CNN’s Mark Morales and Shimon Prokupecz contributed to this report.



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