Maya Wiley Releases Plan to Create Safe Communities and Transform Policing

Wiley’s plan is a top to bottom restructuring of the police department, investing in communities by cutting at least $1 billion from the NYPD budget to fund investments in alternatives to policing.

Maya’s plan to transform the NYPD is the 30th installment of “50 Ideas for NYC”


New York – On day 30 of her “50 Ideas for NYC,” Maya Wiley released her plan to completely reimagine the NYPD. It is the most comprehensive and substantial police reform proposal ever issued by a major candidate for Mayor—a transformational plan to put the public at the center of public safety by creating true, Mayoral control and across-the-board civilian oversight of the NYPD and developing alternatives to policing that can more effectively address New York City’s most pressing challenges: poverty, mental health crises, and homelessness. The plan aims to keep New Yorkers safe while also reimagining a police department that desperately needs to be reformed.

This city of 8 million has had historic drops in crime over the last three decades stretching back to the community policing initiatives of David Dinkins. Tragically, we have not experienced an increase in equity and fairness in how policing is administered in our communities. We’ve continued to experience law enforcement that is unaccountable to civilian leadership and that runs counter to our values. This will change in a Wiley administration. We can and will keep New Yorkers safe, while not criminalizing poverty, targeting Black and brown New Yorkers who are just trying to live with dignity, or forcing police officers into interventions that they are not trained for. It is a sweeping move forward in policing, crime prevention, and police-community relationships. Wiley’s plan includes:

  • Creating real oversight and addressing police violence at its root and before it happens.
  • Rewriting the rules of policing and reimagining the job so police officers focus on problems they can help solve.
  • Creating real and meaningful accountability and consequences for all forms of police misconduct.
  • Bringing the NYPD budget in line with our values and priorities.
  • Fundamentally shifting policing and public safety to a focus on the root causes of crime.
  • Renegotiating the contract between the City and Police Benevolent Association (PBA) to end the union’s oversized influence and the Department’s evasion of accountability.

“There is no leading New York City out of the crisis we’re in without cleaning up policing and ensuring it protects our communities. I have put forward a unified, comprehensive and humane plan to policing and public safety,” said Maya Wiley. “My plan to transform policing will create true civilian oversight of the NYPD and develop alternatives to policing that can more effectively address New York City’s most pressing challenges. It is time to redefine what policing is and is not, to address the root causes of this violence and to tear down the institutionalized racism and inequity within our systems and build a stronger, more just and more effective system of public safety that serves all New Yorkers.”

No one knows better than I do how desperately we need to change how the police relate to those experiencing homelessness in New York City. I’m forever traumatized by my experience of being diverted from a train, to a jail cell and then a shelter simply because I asked for help. Right now, we have cops showing up when a person experiencing homelessness falls asleep on a bench, on a train or is suffering from a mental health crisis and this can be traumatizing,” said Homeless Advocate Shams da Baron. “Maya’s plan will end the homelessness to jail pipeline by investing in Housing First strategies and focusing on providing secure permanent housing and support services to people experiencing homelessness, substance use addiction and mental health challenges.”

“Today, Rikers is the largest psychiatric in person institution in the City. Mental health crises should be handled by mental health experts, not by armed officers without the training and experience in helping people facing mental health emergencies,” said President of the 504 Democratic Club Michael Schweinsburg. “Maya knows that we cannot overstate the importance of centering New Yorkers with disabilities in policing reform.”

“Maya Wiley has committed her life and career to the causes of racial justice and civil rights. Those are exactly the values we need right now to guide as we reform and reimagine how we police our city and keep the public safe,” said former Public Advocate Mark Green. “Maya’s plan will rein in an NYPD budget that is out of control and refocus our efforts on the root causes of crime itself. It’s time to start treating the disease, not just the symptoms, and no one understands that more clearly than Maya WIley.”

“It’s time to have fewer police in our schools and more teachers, more guidance counselors, more mental health professionals and more experts in trauma-based care. We have to start recognizing that crime and violence prevention begins with education, with support and with empathy,” said longtime Bed Stuy parent and advocate NeQuan C. McLean. “I recently lost my nephew to gun violence. It is time for a new approach to public safety and I believe Maya Wiley has the right plan to curb this seemingly endless cycle of violence and bring in a new era of safety, of decency and of respect for all New Yorkers.”

“Maya Wiley is not afraid to talk about hard things or take on hard fights. That is why she is ready to take on the Police Benevolent Association, a union that has far too long stood in the way of reform, of justice and of accountability for NYPD officers,” said Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson. “Maya WIley will end the PBA’s outsized influence and the Department’s evasion of accountability. It is time to put a stop to the use of taxpayer money to pay for the legal defense of police officers who engage in egregious conduct.”

“Maya Wiley gets that the only way to stop violence in our communities is by empowering and investing in the communities themselves. That is why her plan will reinvest money from policing into the communities that need it, expand on community-based violence interruption models, and provide funding for NYCHA and for our public schools,” said Kevin McCall. “Maya will tackle the foundations of crime and violence from the start and truly make this a safer city for everyone.”

“For far too long, the police in our city have been targeting lower income communities and communities of color, leading to over-policing, abuse and deep-seeded mistrust and animosity between the NYPD and the communities they are meant to serve,” said Crystal Bell. “Maya knows that communities are the experts in their own needs. A Wiley Administration will overhaul  the rules that govern policing by embedding community in the very core of the NYPD.”

“It is time to have safe streets and real transparency from our police department. It is time for a new approach,” said Iola Miles. “Maya’s vision for Policing and Public Safety in this city will transform New York into a safer, more just, and more prosperous place for all of us.”

Like her other plans, Wiley’s plan brings a comprehensive and bold approach to transforming the NYPD. The full plan can be viewed here. As Mayor, Maya will support the following:

Create real oversight and to address police violence at its root – The policing of Black and brown New Yorkers is inequitable and unsafe, and yet, after decades of attempts at reform, the NYPD is still largely accountable only to itself in setting the course of how it polices the country’s largest city. A Wiley Administration will end that.

We need a top-to-bottom reshaping of policing. This includes deep and meaningful changes to leadership, the rules that govern the job, and the consequences for failing the people of this city. In order to transform policing through real oversight, Maya will:

  • Appoint a civilian Police Commissioner who has demonstrated a sincere commitment to transforming the institution of policing.
  • Create a Commission on Public Safety Oversight and Accountability (“the Commission”) that will ensure that policing is safe for all New Yorkers, making binding decisions on policies and priorities for policing.
  • Create a Compstat for Public Safety Office that uses data to identify practices where biased policing is likely to occur and limit those practices.
  • Freeze the incoming NYPD and DOC cadet classes for two years (diverting funding to a Universal Community Care income during that period) while fundamental policy and rules changes are taken within the police department that will reshape training for future classes.
  • Put the Public Back in Public Safety, building upon existing strategies and tools which deepen police-community relationships and create a sense of shared responsibility.

Rewrite the rules of policing and reimagine the job – If we’re going to change how our communities are policed, and whether they can be safe at the hands of those entrusted to protect and serve them, we need to fundamentally alter the behavior of police officers.

We need to take policing out of situations involving individuals with mental health crises and substance use disorders, and we need to make housing and homelessness experts the first responders to people living on the streets. To address these problems, Maya will: 

  • Overhaul the Patrol Guide, which details the rules that govern policing, particularly around the use of force.
  • Permanently remove NYPD from mental health crisis management, traffic enforcement,and school safety.
  • Create student support teams of social workers, school counselors, newly trained school safety officers, and administrators at all schools.
  • Permanently remove NYPD from immigration enforcement.
  • End the homelessness-jail cycle by investing in Housing First strategies, rather than policing.

Create meaningful accountability and consequences for all police misconduct – We have spent decades trying to create a system to hold police officers accountable who violate the public trust, and we have failed. We need a system where New Yorkers can trust that individual officers are no longer able to act with impunity with no fear of meaningful accountability. Tol create a system of real accountability that will overcome the NYPD’s resistance to holding bad actors accountable, Maya will:

  • Empower the Civilian Complaint Review Board with an expanded budget.
  • End NYPD final authority over disciplinary actions and empower the newly created  independent civilian oversight commission to make final determinations on discipline.
  • Eliminate city funding of defense for indefensible police misconduct.
  • Bolster criminal prosecutions of official misconduct.

Bring the NYPD budget in line with our values and priorities 

  • Invest in our communities by cutting at least $1 billion from the NYPD budget to fund investments in alternatives to policing.
  • Conduct a full audit of the NYPD’s budget to assess how funding is currently distributed and make additional necessary cuts.

Fundamentally shift policing to a focus on the root causes of crime – It is no secret that the cycles of violence that are endemic in our communities are the result of centuries of racism, disenfranchisement, neglect, divestment that have torn families apart, and it has made it practically impossible to escape poverty. The NYPD must be a part of this solution, but is not the solution.

Maya will shift to a “problem-solving policing” model rather than a “containment and control policing model  that has produced strategies like “broken windows policing” and the unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” policy, which overwhelmingly targeted young Black and Latino men. Problem-solving policing is a model that relies on partnerships within the community and city government to prevent and reduce crime. Addressing the root causes of neighborhood violence through community outreach and collaborative problem solving is more effective at reducing crime than traditional punitive policing, which targets hotspots and prioritizes surveillance over privacy. To accomplish this, Maya will:

  • Expand on community-based violence interruption models.
  • Strengthen the infrastructure and communication networks between local nonprofits and outreach workers to ensure teams send New Yorkers to the most relevant, accessible, and effective health and safety organizations.
  • End the criminalization of poverty.
  • Protect domestic violence survivors while ensuring that those who come in contact with the criminal justice system have access to the support services they need to live safe, healthy, and productive lives.
  • Invest in a comprehensive and expansive citywide reentry initiative.
  • Address the crisis of mental health and homelessness with investment, not incarceration.

End the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) union’s oversized influence and the Department’s evasion of accountability
 – We need to be very clear, the main actor who not only protects bad officers, but actively and maliciously pushes back against any and all reforms and accountable, is the PBA and its president, Pat Lynch. Therefore, we must not only work to reform the police department itself, but also the structures that exist which allows the PBA and Pat Lynch to undermine accountability efforts. Simply put, for too long, the PBA has had veto power over policing in New York City. To end this, Maya will:  

  • Renegotiate the currently expired union contract between the City and Police Benevolent Association (PBA) that prevents officers accused of abuse and misconduct from evading accountability.
  • End the use of taxpayer money to pay for the legal defense of police officers who engage in indefensible conduct and identify other areas where taxpayers are financing the defense and protection of egregious police misconduct to determine whether such funding is appropriate.

Maya’s plan to transform the NYPD is the 30th installment of “50 ideas for NYC”, which will continue to highlight the many ideas Maya has proposed throughout this campaign to make New York a better city for everyone.

Maya has been endorsed by 1199SEIU, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, Higher Heights for America, EMILY’s list, AmplifyHer, State Senator Michael Gianaris, Former Assembly Member and Former DNC Vice Chair Michael Blake, Assembly Member Deborah Glick, Assembly Member Khaleel Anderson, Assembly Member Jeff Aubry, Assembly Member Latoya Joyner, Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi, Mark Green, Gloria Steinem, Robbie Kaplan, Council Members Helen Rosenthal and Steve Levin, and former City Council Member Jimmy Vacca. She has also received the endorsement of New York Progressive Action Network (NYPAN), the 504 Democratic Club, and Democracy For America.  She has received ranked choice endorsements from the Working Families Party, The Jewish Vote and Progressive Women of New York.

Since entering the race, Wiley has introduced several innovative policy proposals, including her New Deal New York, a piece of her economic vision that will create 100,000 jobs; a plan to save small business; a Universal Community Care plan to provide $5,000 grants for the 100,000 most in-need New York City; her Community First Climate Plan; an education plan that hires 1,000 teachers; a policy to prevent maternal mortality; a proposal to combat gun violence; an arts, culture and tourism platform; a women’s agenda; and a plan to fight evictions.