New York Police Departments
There are over 462 municipal police departments in the state of New York, ranging in size from just a few officers in a small town to the largest police force in the United States, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), which has over 34,000 sworn officers and a total number of employees near 50,000. In addition, there are 23 police departments serving colleges and universities, three tribal departments, and numerous other agencies serving transit systems and various other entities. Some larger departments operate their own detention facility, but most smaller departments use the county jail to house prisoners.
Including the NYPD, New York City has the greatest concentration of law enforcement agencies in the nation. There are many agencies with sworn officers. A few examples are the Department of Environmental Protection Police, the Taxi and Limousine Commission Enforcement officers, the Department of Homeless Services Police, the Parks Enforcement Patrol, and the Department of Sanitation Police. Additionally, the New York City Department of Correction employs about 9,500 sworn officers.
In most police departments, there are at least five main ranks of sworn personnel: police officer, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, and police chief. Detectives or investigators also serve in many agencies and general rank above officers but below sergeants. In larger departments, above the rank of captain there may be commanders and one or more deputy chiefs. In the NYPD, there are three grades of detectives, as well as numerous other upper ranks, and the highest uniformed rank, Chief of Department, is appointed by the police commissioner, who is a civilian appointed by the mayor. Although commissioner is a civilian position, most who serve in that capacity have been career police officers. In smaller departments, the police chief is usually appointed by the mayor or the city council.
Although procedures for arrest may vary, there are certain procedures used by nearly every police department in the state of New York. When someone is arrested, they are handcuffed and usually taken to the nearest police station. There, an officer will interview them and ask for “pedigree” information: name, date of birth, address, Social Security number, phone number, etc. The suspect may be questioned during this interview as well. If they were not read their rights under the Miranda law at the time of arrest, this should happen before questioning. A suspect charged with a crime will be fingerprinted, photographed, and searched. Any personal property will be collected and held until the suspect is released. They should be given a voucher or list of property collected. If any item found is determined to be contraband, it will be listed separately as arrest evidence and not returned upon release. An officer will check to see if there are any warrants for the suspect from other law enforcement agencies. If so, the arrestee may spend additional time in jail before being arraigned, in order to give the authorities time to get information on the additional warrant(s). The suspect will then be placed in a cell or holding area to await arraignment (or formal charges) in court.