Stop and Frisk although used improperly used by some of the officers in the New York City Police Department, it is a useful tool for police and should be reformed.
It is an undeniable fact that stop and frisk was used unjustly against innocent minioties. How ever the practice was effective at confiscating guns and other weapons off the streets, in 2011 over 800 guns were confiscated and 5,000 other weapon (mostly knives) were seized by police. These numbers would be even more substantial if If it was reformed to eliminate unjust prejudices and biases, and it would make a big impact on the crime rate. The way the NYPD utilized stop and frisk was not very effective, more than 80 percent of those subjected to stop and frisk were completely innocent. Police were using stop and frisk to reach quotas set by the department, meaning they would stop innocent minorities for no reason other than trying to find something illegal to charge them with.
If stop and frisk is used correctly, only when a police officer has reasonable suspicion the suspect is armed and dangerous it is a very effective tool to get weapons off the streets. The facts about how police target minority communities can be misleading. As stated early police officers often unfairly targeted miniories for no reason but for there to be a higher rate of stop and frisk in minority communities makes sense when you look at the crime stats from the NYPD. In 2012 the New York City population consisted of 33% whites, 28% hispanic, 22% black, 12% asian, and 5%other. Although white people are the biggest population in New York City they are arrested significantly less than blacks or hispanics. For example Firearm arrests are 73% black, 21% hispanic, 4% white, and 1% asian; Shooting arrests are 75% black, 22% hispanic, 2% white; robbery arrests were 62% black, 29% hispanic, 6% white; felonious assault arrests were 52% black, 33% hispanic, 9% white; murder and non-negligent manslaughter arrests were 51% black, 36% hispanic, 9% white; rape arrests were 48% black, 42% hispanic, and 5% white; juvenile arrest population is black 58.
6%, hispanic 32.6%, and white arrestees 5.8%. It is clear from these statistics the on average in New York City black and hispanics are responsible for a higher percentage of crime so allocating more police resources to those communities can be explained.
Before stop and frisk is implemented again the officers should be better trained. The better trained and educated a police officer is the less likely that officer will do something unethical or unconstitutional. For example a recent study found that departments that require officers to have an associates degree had fewer citizens complains of police use of force and fewer assaults on police officers. Police departments need to set policies and procedures to limit the possibility that officers act unconstitutional, especially when it comes to stop and frisk. These policies should clearly tell an officer what is acceptable during a stop and frisk and what will not be tolerated.
The supervisors in the department should closely monitor their officers and stop any unconstitutional behavior. Monitoring officer behavior has been made easier than ever thanks to body worn cameras which can be used to show what transpired during every interaction with police. The officers should also write detailed reports on why each person was stopped and frisk including all relevant details including time, place, length of stop, race, behavior that led to stop, what transpired, and what was discovered.
Officers should not be using stop and frisk to stop anyone and everyone they want. Rather stop and frisk should be limited to when an officer has a legitimate fear the person is armed and dangerous.