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NYPD Public Relations Team Has Doubled In Size

The New York Police Department’s public relations team has doubled in size over the last two years to 86 staffers — including some with checkered pasts, New York Focus reports. Tarik Sheppard, the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information  since August, has overseen much of this growth. Using city databases and data tools created by citizen watchdogs, New York Focus identified at least 57 uniformed NYPD officers assigned to DCPI two-thirds of whom were assigned to the division after Sheppard took over. In a statement, Brooklyn Councilmember Lincoln Restler pointed to the contrast between the dcpi’s staffing surge and Mayor Eric Adams’s cuts to other city services, including hundreds of layoffs in the Department of Buildings. “It’s stunning to see the nypd Communications Department more than double to 86 staff while so many of our City agencies are struggling to fulfill their mandates without workers.”

One DCPI detective who transferred to public information from the 28th Precinct was part of a wrongful arrest lawsuit that ended in a $30,000 settlement, according to information compiled by One of Sheppard’s lieutenants at the precinct, Theodore Wells, repeatedly failed to deposit money found on arrestees, lied during a department interview, and covered up a use of force, including by keeping his body camera off. Wells was promoted to captain in February, and transferred to dcpi in March. And in 2021, the city’s civilian oversight board substantiated physical force charges against Sheppard himself. During a June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest, Sheppard tackled a demonstrator, pinned her to the ground, and tased her. nypd brass intervened in the case after it went to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, and Sheppard went undisciplined. The victim later took Sheppard and other officers to court, winning a $99,000 settlement, per “It’s a misuse of government funds,” said Queens Councilmember Tiffany Cabán. “It’s putting some drapes on an agency that has year over year been rogue and unaccountable, consistently overspending on overtime — behavior that we don’t see from any other agency in our city.”


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