THE NYPD AUXILIARY POLICE
DEPUTY INSPECTOR PHYLIS BYRNE, COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE AUXILIARY POLICE SECTION
The New York City Police Department Auxiliary Police is an unpaid, unarmed reserve police force which is a subdivision of the Patrol Services Bureau of the New York City Police Department. Auxiliary Police officers assist the NYPD with uniformed patrols and provide traffic and crowd control at vehicular accidents, fires, demonstrations and other major events. Over 4,500 Auxiliary Police officers contribute over one million hours of service each year. The NYPD Auxiliary Police program is the largest Auxiliary Police program in the USA.[1
Who are the Volunteer Auxiliary Police?
In 2008, the NYPD revised the training course to include training in location and use of pressure points, dealing with domestic violence situations, firearm safety, and terrorism awareness. A written and physical exam is given at the end of training. Upon the completion of the Basic Training Course, the physical exam, and the written exam, probationary Auxiliary Police officers are issued their shield and police identification card along with their baton and initial uniform allowance voucher.
All Auxiliary Police officers are required by New York State to pass an annual refresher course in the use of force with the straight baton, arrest procedures, and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) in order to maintain their peace officer status.
Auxiliary Police officers are certified as "Peace Officers without Firearms Training" by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services-Municipal Police Training Council and are registered as peace officers in the NYS DCJS registry of peace officers.
Although volunteers, Auxiliary Police officers are city employees while on duty and may be eligible for Workers' Compensation in the event of injury while on duty.
Auxiliary Police officers who work the minimum required hours per fiscal year receive an annual uniform allowance check to help pay for new and replacement equipment and uniforms.
- Auxiliary Police officers may carry and use straight wood batons under the authority of NYS Penal Law 265.20 b.
- Auxiliary Police officers may carry and use handcuff restraints both on and off duty in accordance with NYC Administrative Code 10-147
- Auxiliary Police officers may physically detain violators of Misdemeanors and Felonies under the State of New York Civil Defense Act Article # 8 Section # 105
- Auxiliary Police officers injured while on duty are provided Workers Compensation under NYC Administrative Code Section 14-147 of chapter 1 of title 14
- Auxiliary Police officers receive an annual uniform allowance in accordance with the NYC Administrative Code Section 14-148
- Auxiliary Police officers can use physical and deadly force to make an arrest, or when a person uses physical or deadly force against an officer or a third person in accordance with the NYPD Auxiliary training manual.
Auxiliary Police officers duties fall into four broad categories:
- Daily patrol of assigned sectors within their respective precinct, transit district, housing area or specialized unit coverage area.
- Provide additional uniform police presence at parks, playgrounds, pools, street fairs, flea markets, block parties, shopping areas, subway entrances and exits, and school/church crossings.
- Assist with vehicular and pedestrian traffic at parades, marathons, concerts, intersections with broken traffic lights, accident scenes, and fire scenes.
- Assist in Precinct Identification Programs, Combat Auto Theft Program, Bicycle ID Program, Operation ID Program, Kid Care Program, and VIN Etching Program.
Auxiliary Police officers increase the public's perception of police "omnipresence" by patrolling in police cars, on foot
and on bicycle. The police cars, known as RMPs or Radio Motor Patrols, are dark blue or black with white decals or white with light blue decals. Auxiliary Police officers wear virtually the same uniform as regular officers, and are equipped with straight wood batons, bullet resistant vests, police radios directly linked to the Central Dispatcher, other Auxiliary officers, and regular officers, flashlights, whistles, handcuffs, memo books, and reflective traffic vests. Their badge is a seven point star, in contrast to the shield worn by regular officers.
Auxiliary Police officers in New York City are NOT permitted to carry a side arm at any time on duty, even if independently licensed to carry a firearm. In other jurisdictions within New York State, some police departments do allow their Auxiliary Police officers to carry a firearm.
Auxiliary Police officers patrol presence, observations and reporting of incidents requiring regular police response, as well as interacting with the public, are meant to aid in crime reduction and enhance relations between the community and the police.
Role of the Auxiliary Police Officer
Auxiliary Police officers can:
- Assist at accident and fire scenes
- Assist with crowd control
- Block off traffic at parades, accidents, fires, etc.
- Perform traffic control at broken traffic lights, accidents, etc.
- Make arrests when a crime (Misdemeanors,Felony) is committed in their presence or when directed by a Police Officer
- Assist with vehicle or VIP escorts
- Respond to low priority 911 calls but not allowed to transmit finalization summary codes to the dispatcher.
- Give medical aid to anyone as long as they are trained to do so
- Carry and use a police baton in the performance of their duties (NYS Penal Law 265.20 b.)
- Carry and use handcuff restraints in the performance of their duties (NYC Administrative Code 10-147)
Auxiliary Police officers cannot:
- Make arrests for crimes not committed in their presence even if directed to do so by a regular police officer or a police dispatcher. In 1991, the New York State Court of Appeals determined that Auxiliary Police officers are only partially covered under the "fellow officer rule", and therefore may not detain or arrest a person based on information from a dispatcher or police officer heard over a police radio or from a police officer in person, but are considered as a law enforcement officer with reliable information when making a report themselves to other law officers.
- Respond to any 911 calls involving any type of weapons or other life endangering conditions.
- Carry a firearm
- Make traffic stops unless authorized to do so by competent police authority
- Issue summonses
Standard Auxiliary Police Units
Precinct Patrol: Officers patrol their respective precinct. When performing foot patrol, the area of the precinct that the officer patrols is called a Patrol Area, which are divided into "Foot Posts". RMP and Bike Patrol are also performed.
Housing Bureau: Officers patrol their respective Housing (Police Service Area) precinct, mainly being a uniformed presence within the NYC housing projects. When performing foot patrol, the area of the precinct that the officer patrols is called Patrol Areas, which are divided into "Foot Posts". RMP and Bike Patrol are also performed.
Transit Bureau: Officers patrol their respective Transit District precinct. When performing foot patrol, the area of the precinct that the officer patrols is called a Patrol Area, which are divided into "Foot Posts". RMP Patrol is also performed.
Transit Auxiliary Police Officers
Two weeks after the 2005 London bombings, a new directive stated that New York City would institute a citywide transit Auxiliary program with the intent of reducing crime and fighting terrorism in the city's transit system. Transit Auxiliary officers work out of Transit Bureau precincts known as Districts and carry Transit portable radios. Unlike a precinct, the transit districts cover miles of underground subway. Transit Auxiliary Police officers go through additional training by the Transit Bureau Vandals Squad as well as the Counter-Terrorism Division to build vandalism and terrorism awareness within the Transit System. Transit Auxiliary officers are paired with either a regular police officer or Auxiliary police officer. Transit Auxiliary Police periodically perform inspections of the subway station(s) and platforms which they are assigned to, taking note of any suspicious occurrences, and set up a fixed post at the subway turnstiles, token booths, mezzanines, or platforms. Transit Auxiliary officers also conduct subway train inspections as well as train runs to/from stations that which assignment is given. Due to the common medical emergency calls in Transit, if medically qualified, Transit Auxiliary Police officers can respond to medical emergencies if they are near to the transit location. The main function of the NYPD Transit Auxiliary Police, like the NYPD Transit Police, is to primarily remain within the subway system. 
Specialized Auxiliary Police units
Auxiliary Patrol Support Unit (APSU): Auxiliary Police version of the NYPD's Emergency Services Unit (ESU). Officers wear the same uniform as regular NYPD ESU officers. They assist regular ESU units involving jobs such as dangerous conditions, rescues, vehicle accidents, lockouts, blackouts, blocked roads, natural disasters and other non-tactical calls where ESU is needed. These units carry many specialized tools, generators, lighting and other necessary gear in their vehicles to assist with said jobs. This unit is able to monitor and transmit on both local precinct radio frequencies as well as the SOD (Special Operations Division) citywide frequency. Unlike precinct patrol Auxiliary units, this unit patrols their entire respective patrol borough covering multiple precincts. Officers in this unit are required to go through extra training. As of June 2010, the APSU is disbanded and no longer authorized unit 
Highway Patrol: Officers patrol highways, parkways, and main thoroughfares throughout the City of New York. Auxiliary Highway Patrol officers wear the same uniform as regular Highway Patrol officers and patrol in regular officers RMPs in Auxiliary Police Highway Patrol RMPs with AUXILIARY decals on each side. All applicants to this unit are required to have a minimum of five years experience as a patrol officer with the NYPD Auxiliary Police before they will be considered for the job. In addition they must be qualified to operate Highway Patrol vehicles and motorcycles. See article: New York City Police Department Highway Patrol
Special Task Unit (STU): Officers patrol citywide to high crime areas all over the city that need special attention and extra patrol. However, more typical of this unit is traveling to precincts in Queens and Brooklyn during special events such as concerts, marathons, etc. to increase the police presence. They do not confine themselves to one location or precinct. As of January 2011, this unit is disbanded and the personnel are absorbed into the Headquarters Unit.
Harbor Unit: Officers patrol New York City's waterways. A marine background such as one obtained through the coast guard, military, or other marine background is required.
Undercover Vice Ops: Officers that have not reached the age of 20 years and 6 months old can be utilized to assist the NYPD
Vice Unit Narcotics Division for "Quality of Life enforcement" stings which address illegal alcohol, knife, and spray paint sales. Other than this exception, NYPD Auxiliary Police officers are never undercover (*unless authorized by the Police Commissioner or Commanding Officer of the Auxiliary Police) and always patrol in uniform. Officers who have received the necessary "Vice Training" may be used by their Command in non-hazardous surveillance with the supervision of regular police officers.
The Auxiliary Police also has a Ceremonial Unit made up of a small group of Auxiliary officers.
Auxiliary patrol and police vehicles
Patrol is one of the most important duties Auxiliary officers can perform. Various types of patrols are possible within different precincts. Almost all precincts perform foot patrol. Other types of patrol include:
- RMP (Auxiliary Police Car) - cars are painted white with light blue decals.
- Van (15 passenger; Used for routine patrol and officer transport) - vans are painted white with light blue decals.
- Police Golf Cart (Only used in Manhattan's Central Park Precinct)
In most cases, Auxiliary Police vehicles are retired vehicles that were once used by regular officers. Once the vehicle attains a certain amount of mileage, it is taken out of service and is either redecaled and given to a command for the Auxiliary Police, or is sold. Auxiliary Highway Patrol RMPs are retired RMPs previously used by regular Highway Patrol officers. Most commands only have 1 Auxiliary vehicle, but some have 2 or more. The amount of Auxiliary vehicles per command is based on how many Auxiliary officers are working there and how many extra vehicles the NYPD has available. It should also be noted that older Auxiliary vehicles are painted either dark blue or black with white decals in contrast to the vehicles used by regular officers, which are white with light blue decals. In 2008, the NYPD changed the paint and decal color of Auxiliary vehicles to white with light blue decals in order to look like vehicles used by regular officers and as an economy measure to save money by not having to repaint the vehicles.
Officers wishing to operate a
bicycle, RMP, or van need special training before they are allowed to operate them. Training is done by the Police Academy Driver Training Unit (PADT) which is located at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. The golf cart, which is special to the Central Park Precinct, also requires special training to operate.
Auxiliary Police Officer Safety
The NYPD promotes the safety of its Auxiliary Police officers by requiring that they not pursue dangerous situations, but rather to remove themselves from such danger immediately. During training, recruits are repeatedly told that their purpose is to be the "eyes and ears" of the Police Department, and they are not required to enforce the law unless absolutely necessary. Although they are equipped with wood batons and (optional) handcuffs, they are told that their most powerful weapon is the police radio, which allows them to call for back-up officers to the scene. Auxiliary Police officers are not issued, there are not permitted to carry firearms while on duty, even if they are police officers/peace officers or licensed gun owners.
There is still risk involved in being an Auxiliary officer. On March 14, 2007, two Auxiliary Police officers—Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo—were killed in a shootout in Greenwich Village. This was the first time NYPD Auxiliary Police officers were killed in the line of duty since 1993.
Up until March 26, 2007, the NYPD did not issue or subsidize ballistic vests to Auxiliary officers. But after the shootings of Pekearo and Marshalik, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly asked the New York City Council to earmark more than 3.3 million dollars to provide all Auxiliary Police officers with Level IIIA Vests, the same used by full-time officers. On March 27, 2007, the City Council approved this bill, which had all Auxiliary officers equipped with vests. Since then, in 2010, funding for vest for Auxiliary Police Officers has ran out of the NYPD City Budget. Every Police Precinct, Housing Police Service Area and Transit District has a pool of "loaner" vest for new Auxiliary Police Officers to use while on patrol, afterwards, they are returned and secured by the Auxiliary Coordinator.