By Nicole Bode
DNAinfo Senior Editor
MANHATTAN — The NYPD has appointed a new panel to investigate the way the department records crime statistics, in the wake of allegations that police tried to tamp down the apparent crime rate by misreporting felonies as lesser crimes, officials announced Wednesday.
The Crime Reporting Review Committee will spend the next three to six months evaluating the NYPD’s heralded crime reporting system, CompStat, to see if there are areas for improvement, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement.
The panel will be led by three former federal prosecutors – David Kelley, who led the Manhattan US attorney’s office from 2003 – 2005; Sharon McCarthy, a former Manhattan Assistant US Attorney who helped then Attorney General Andrew Cuomo’s investigate allegations of political interference with the State Police; and Robert Morvillo, who worked in the Manhattan US Attorney’s office in the Fraud unit, Kelly said.
"It is essential not only for maintaining the confidence of the people we serve, but reliable crime statistics are necessary for the effective planning and evaluation of crime reduction strategies," Kelly said in a statement. "I know of none better or more qualified than these three highly regarded professionals to review how well our crime reporting functions."
As part of their assignment, the panel members will be allowed to sit in on CompStat meetings, be given internal documents about the “nature and trends in crime misclassification” and be given access to NYPD precincts to watch crime reporting in action, Kelly said.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the New York Times that the department created the panel because "there’s been a lot of false, or unfair, accusations against the Police Department.”
The department came under fire last year, after a whistleblower went public with evidence a Brooklyn precinct had been downplaying felony crimes and reporting them as misdemeanors, according to reports. The firestorm led to a series of internal disciplinary charges against several police officers in Brooklyn, according to reports.