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Now Hired: The Man Who Will Look Over the NYPD's Shoulder

Friday, March 28, 2014

The police department has a new watchdog.

Last year, the City Council created the new position of NYPD Inspector General to oversee the department's practices — like stop-and-frisk and police brutality — in a comprehensive way.

The job went to Philip Eure, a 52-year-old former federal prosecutor and currently the head of Washington D.C.'s Office of Police Complaints. And he knows exactly what he needs to do: "Identifying issues of concern and proposing reforms that add to the ongoing efforts to build stronger relationships between New Yorkers and their police force,” he said at a press conference on Friday.

Eure added that his office would accept complaints from the public and conduct outreach efforts.

His appointment was applauded by city officials and police watchdog groups although some say they'll be watching to be certain he is truly independent.

Policing expert Samuel Walker, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said that Eure brings the right experience to the post.

Walker also thinks the scrutiny the new Inspector General post will bring to the NYPD could save the city millions of dollars. Last year alone, the city paid out more than $64 million in civil settlements and verdicts against the police.

"It’s outrageous that New York City would be spending that much money on police misconduct cases when that can be fixed,” Walker said.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, who once worked as a police monitor himself, said he was looking forward to working with Eure. The department will be creating a new position that will work with both the IG and the monitor appointed by the court in the stop-and-frisk lawsuits.

Eure will begin his work next month, within the office of the Department of Investigation

The largest police union — the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which once vigorously fought against the creation of the IG — declined to comment on Eure's appointment. 

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