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NYC Police Will Be Retrained, De Blasio Says At News Conference

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Department Commissioner Bill Bratton have announced plans to give training to police officers to help them treat all citizens with equal respect and with equal regard for their safety.

"These changes are happening because the people demanded it," de Blasio said.

The pair appeared at a news conference Thursday, one day after a grand jury declined to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the July death of Staten Island man Eric Garner.

Speaking at the New York City Police Academy, de Blasio said the city's officers will do things a different way. De Blasio also noted that despite large protests Wednesday, only 83 people were arrested.

You can watch the live video above; we'll update this post as news emerges.

Update at 2:59 p.m. ET: Queens Leader Speaks

The Police Academy is in Queens — and Borough President Melinda Katz notes that there are 130 languages spoken in its public school classrooms.

She goes on to describe the importance of retraining all the officers at once, in an effort to shift the overall culture of the force.

Update at 2:55 p.m. ET: Among The Challenges: Ego, Adrenaline

Deputy Commissioner Tucker runs down a list of components that make up three days of training, with an emphasis on problem-solving and communication.

Calling for "smart policing," Tucker notes challenges officers face, including how to control their own ego and adrenaline.

Tucker is referring to a series of charts onstage, outlines of the in-service training.

He then says the police department's retraining push includes new ideas in law enforcement, such as "implicit bias."

Update at 2:50 p.m. ET: Details On Mentors, Training

Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker says the changes will include a new mentoring program for rookies who have graduated from the police academy.

He goes on to discuss how to train the 20,000-strong patrol force "to change and enhance the capacity of those members to engage in positive community interaction" while also being safe.

On retraining, he says officers of different ranks and duties who work together will be trained together, so they'll take their lessons back as a team.

Update at 2:35 p.m. ET: 'Reform Is Happening'

Saying that every interaction New York's police officers have with their fellow citizens will be different after they're retrained, de Blasio says, "Reform is happening here in New York City."

Some of the lessons, he says, will be in waiting for backup and supervision, along with "de-escalation."

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: Resolve To 'Get It Right'

Saying that the grand jury's move resulted in "fundamental questions being asked" about respecting citizens' rights, de Blasio says "there is tremendous resolve in this city to get it right."

He also gave credit to New York's police force for its handling of the largely peaceful protests that erupted after Wednesday's grand jury decision.

But he added, "the way we go about policing has to change," as people seek reassurance that they will be treated fairly, equally and with respect.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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