The New York Police Department ordered 10 million business cards that officers must hand out to people they stop. The cards are required by the Right to Know Act, which took effect Friday. It spells out what officers must do before conducting searches.
The New York Police Department ordered 10 million business cards that officers must hand out to people they stop. The cards include the officers’ names and ranks, and are required under the new Right to Know Act. The law, which took effect Friday, spells out what officers must do before searching individuals, their belongings or their homes in cases where the person is not suspected of a crime or there is probable cause to conduct a search, the New York Times reports. The Right to Know Act was passed by the City Council in 2017 in response to the aggressive police use of stop-and-frisk tactics. A federal judge ruled in 2013 that the practice was unconstitutional and unfairly discriminated against blacks and Latinos.
The police have drastically scaled back such stops, but proponents of the law say it will further shield civilians from harassment. Police officials say the department will fully implement the measures, though the city’s largest police union maintains that they are an unnecessary burden. If an officer has a hunch that a man has a concealed weapon, the officer can ask who he is and where he is going, without having to provide any reason for the questioning. If the officer asks if the man has a weapon, or conducts a frisk, he must have an objective reason to believe that the man has committed, is committing or is about to commit a crime. If there is no objective reason, the officer must tell the man why he is questioning him and get his consent to conduct a pat-down. The new law seeks to make certain that officers ask explicitly for consent for searches that require it. The police must tell people that they can refuse a search, and that a search cannot happen without their permission.