The New York City Commission to Combat Police Corruption (CCPC) was created in 1995 to evaluate activities and efforts of the NYPD. Upon it’s creation, city attorneys were done doing nothing with the complaints they received from the public about inappropriate conduct among police officers.
“We monitor the policies and practices of the New York City Police Department, and I think we do it pretty successfully,” said Executive Director for the commission, Marnie Blit, in a phone interview. Blit, who has worked as Executive Director since October 2006, works alongside four others on staff – a deputy executive director, an office manager, and two confidential investigators.
Five commissioners and the Chair, Michael F. Armstrong, serve on the CCPC and dedicate their daily efforts on a pro bono basis. Each commissioner has a background in criminal justice, with a specialty in corruption-related issues. When asked about the CCPC’s budget and annual spending, Blit replied curtly saying, “All I can say about this is that we’re funded through the DOI [Department of Investigation].”
The CCPC is a permanent board that considers themselves fairly elite. The hiring program, even for a position on the lowest rung, is highly extensive. “We screen resumes, look for those who have higher education, we prefer people who have an investigative background,” Blit says of the process, adding, “Employees first meet with the office manager, the deputy ED, then me, before they meet with one of the commissioners. If they get approved by the Chair, the final step is a vast background check from the DOI.”
While there are no issues to Blit’s knowledge that would put them in the political hot seat, the biggest project they are faced with right now is writing the annual report. “The report is on our view of internal affairs investigations, the department’s disciplinary cases, and police officer’s general misconduct,” says Christine, Blit’s assistant, in the same phone interview.
But information gathered from the CCPC’s website explicitly describes current projects. One major development is to set a system that encourages police officers to come forth with information about the corruption going on in the department. Most officers don’t come forward because they fear being rejected and ousted from a department that they consider a second family. The Department needs to implement a stronger system that will provide protection for the police officers who disclose the corrupt behavior of fellow officers.
The office doesn’t have jurisdiction over complaints that the public brings to their attention on a daily basis. The complaints are referred over to the Internal Affairs Bureau. “We’d be bombarded on top of everything else we have to do,” says Blit. When asked what made her want to work for the CCPC, Blit says, “I worked as an attorney defending juvenile delinquents. I found it to be a multi-personality role. I often dealt with police: in one case they were the heroes, but in the next, they were the enemies. That’s what made me want to work for this cause.”