After last month’s tragic and unpredictable shooting of two NYPD officers, already high tensions between the NYPD and Mayor Bill de Blasio turned a strange corner. The NYPD effectively shut down a massive portion of their policing: arrests plummeted by two-thirds while traffic and parking violations dropped by 90%.

The shutdown, informally orchestrated by the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, asked officers only to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” possibly in protest, possibly as result of a fatigued force coming off the heels of protestors’ agitation. Yet despite concerns that a slowdown of policing might lead to a crime spree, instead life carried on as normal.

The work stoppage ended mid-January and arrests rates “are going back to what we would describe as normal levels,” according to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Throughout it all, the important question was raised: If police were only making “necessary” arrests during the work stoppage, what kinds of arrests were they making before—and what kinds of arrests will they make now?

One of the journalists asking those questions was Matt Ford, national editor at The Atlantic. Host Maria Hinojosa sat down with him to figure out what the purpose of the work stoppage was, whether it succeeded, and how it might affect future policing.

Then, producer Michael Simon Johnson took to the streets of New York City to talk to residents about their thoughts on the work stoppage, whether they felt a difference in their neighborhood and what their hopes are for community-police relations.


Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

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