The series concludes: we check back in with John Mueller after his resignation as head of the Yonkers Police Department. And we consider what his departure means for police reform efforts in the city at a time when tensions between police and some members of the community remain high.
Changing the Police: To Police or Not To Police
In Yonkers, as in the rest of the country, a substantial number of police calls involve situations where someone is having a mental health crisis. But are cops the right people to answer those calls? A growing number of cities across the country think the answer might be "No." Some have launched crisis response programs that offer alternatives to the police for non-violent mental health emergencies. But in Yonkers, for now, the police still handle these calls. In this episode, Embedded, along with its series partner, The Marshall Project, looks at what happens when the police are the only option people have. And we ask: when it comes to how much the police "police," is less more?
Changing the Police: Charlie Walker's Plan
Every four years, the Yonkers Police Department starts the process of hiring new officers. This time, the department is specifically recruiting people of color through a program known as "Be The Change." Of course in Yonkers, there are plenty of Black people who don't feel it's up to them to "change" a department that has a long history of misconduct. But there's also a strong community of Black officers who question whether reform is possible until the Yonkers Police more accurately reflect the community they serves. In this episode, Embedded, in partnership with the Marshall Project, explores why there are so few officers of color on the Yonkers police force and why even those who've made it onto the force often feel the odds are stacked against them.
Changing the Police: Reckoning with the Past
For a long time, the police department in Yonkers, New York had a reputation as overly aggressive, especially when it came to policing the poorer parts of the city. There were lots of stories of "bad apples"-police officers who allegedly roughed people up or planted drugs during random stops and arrests. Eventually, the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in to investigate. Now the Yonkers Police Department says it is transforming. With the help of a progressive police chief, it has adopted new policies and procedures to minimize force and make the police more accountable to the public. As Embedded, in partnership with The Marshall Project, continues its look at police reform in one American city, we confront a question many of those who say they were mistreated by the police have raised: is it enough? For some alleged victims the answer is clear: there can never be real reform until the police have fully accounted for the wrongs of the past.
Changing the Police: The John Mueller Show
Episode 1 takes listeners to Yonkers, New York, a city with a long and ugly history of bad policing. The Justice Department has demanded an overhaul of the department and has been monitoring it for more than a decade. The commissioner in Yonkers has promised to do what the feds want and more. He has promised to "reform" policing in Yonkers and turn his officers into guardians of the community, accountable to its citizens. Can it be done and what does this kind of reform even look like?