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Retraining is too costly, unnecessary in New York's stop and frisk controversy

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 2:30 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sunday, June 17, 2012 photo, Rev. Al Sharpton, center, walks with thousands along Fifth Avenue, during a silent march to end the "stop-and-frisk" program in New York. The New York City Council Public Safety Committee will hear proposals to impose new requirements for police “stop-and-frisk" encounters, a strategy of detaining and sometimes searching anyone officers deem suspicious, but critics argue the practice is discriminatory and unfairly targets minorities.

Seth Wenig, File, Associated Press

In response to news that a federal judge has told the New York Police Department to cease the use of its stop and frisk technique — where suspicious people are stopped on the street and frisked without a warrant — John Timoney writes at the New York Times why he thinks the judges proposal for retraining officers in more “civil” techniques is unreasonable.

“[T]he judge’s remedy will be enormously expensive and time-consuming to implement, and at a time when the number of stops is falling dramatically.” Timoney is unconvinced that the large scale retraining of officers — all 35,000 of them — in stop and frisk techniques will prove effective. “Nationally, there have been about two dozen in the past 20 years. And while there is no agreement on the efficiency and effectiveness of these monitors, the one thing that all police chiefs involved agreed with is that the monitoring always lasted longer (some more than 10 years) and was vastly more expensive than expected.”

Timoney argues that with the recent public outrage over the stop and frisk techniques, police are less willing to carry out the policy, and as such the numbers are dropping on their own. He believes that public outrage will eventually nullify the practice and that spending so much money on retraining courses isn’t going to result in any noticeable differences.

Freeman Stevenson is a Snow College grad and a writer for the Deseretnews.com Opinion section. Email Freeman at fstevenson@deseretdigital.com

Read more about Stop and Frisk on New York Times.

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