Flawless landscaping. A bright, well-lit parking lot. A cheery, helpful host.
That’s what the local NYPD precinct could be — at least according to Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, who announced on Wednesday a new initiative she hopes will boost the public’s perception of city cops.
The campaign, dubbed “The First 15,” is designed to soften police precincts’ sterile, sometimes fortress-like appearance and welcome those who wander in to report a crime or ask for help.
It also aims to make the first moments of conversation between citizen and members of New York’s Finest as pleasant as possible.
“It’s the first 15 seconds, the first 15 feet, the first 15 minutes of your interaction with the police department that really determines how you feel about how you were treated and how the police department is functioning,” Sewell told a crowd of about 200 at a Crain’s New York “Power Breakfast” event in Manhattan.
The new crusade closely follows a friendly-cop campaign announced earlier this month that encourages officers to greet New Yorkers on the street — just because.
“We started an initiative where officers are more engaging with the public, to just say, ‘Good morning,’ if you see someone, to just let them know that we’re there,” Sewell told a small group of reporters at the time.
Some of the city’s 77 stationhouses may well get makeovers as a result of “The First 15” to make them more amenable to visitors.
Sewell added that she doesn’t want to compromise safety.
She acknowledged NYPD precincts have come under attack in the past, such as when an unhinged gunman stormed a Bronx stationhouse in February 2020 and shot a lieutenant after ambushing a pair of cops hours earlier.
Still, residents should feel connected to their police department, she said.
And the little things — like greeting people when they walk through the precinct door instead of dismissing them — help forge that link.
That could go a long way with New Yorkers, who are infamously intolerant of being told to wait.
“Someone should greet you,” Sewell told the crowd. “Someone should have interaction with you, even if they are otherwise occupied. If they’re on the phone, they should just give you the finger like ‘one second.”