To the Editor:
In "Watching the Detectives" (Op-Ed, June 16), Joanna C. Schwartz asserts that the New York Police Department "ignores lawsuits" and "in contrast" to other police departments doesn't analyze information gathered from them. Nothing could be further from the truth.
More often than not, suits are settled as a matter of economic efficiency, not police culpability. Nonetheless, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly formed a "lessons learned" panel two years ago to examine settlements and verdicts against the department, headed by the department's deputy commissioner for legal matters, S. Andrew Schaffer, a constitutional and criminal law scholar who was a senior vice president and general counsel for New York University.
Also, contrary to Ms. Schwartz's assertions, our police officers' personnel files do contain allegations from lawsuits filed against them. Further, the department carefully tracks officers who are the subjects of complaints, whether they result in lawsuits or not. Last year, our officers had 23 million contacts with the public, with only a minuscule percentage resulting in complaints of any kind.
PAUL J. BROWNE