NYPD tells officers not to congregate or 'engage in unnecessary conversation'

A law enforcement source has provided FOX 5 NY with an NYPD memo that went out Tuesday with this order for officers: "Do not congregate, or engage in unnecessary conversation, with other members of the service while on post" unless it involves necessary police work.

The memo also instructs supervisors to make sure officers are spread out while on patrol. 

"This is absolutely unnecessary.  It's totally petty!" said Ralph Cilento, an Adjunct Professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a retired NYPD Lieutenant Commander of Detectives. "I think his time would be better focused on the uncontrolled crime in the city.  The fact that nationwide police recruiting is down 65 percent, and they're putting NYPD academy classes in that are a third full because they can't fill the seats."

"There's nothing wrong with having 2 to 3 police officers working together or detectives on a foot post to protect each other at a very difficult time in our city," said Paul DiGiacomo is the President of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.

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DiGiacomo says policing is more dangerous now than ever and there should not be a hard rule on when officers can gather together while on duty.  

"It depends on where you are. The crime rate on where you are and the circumstances of what's going on," DiGiacomo said.

Pat Lynch, the President of the largest NYPD union issued this statement: "The order is unnecessary. Pretty soon there won’t be enough cops left to congregate anywhere in the city, because these miserable working conditions and the low pay are forcing them to quit in droves."

FOX 5 contacted the NYPD which confirmed the memo with the orders was dispatched.