“This Is Not What I Became a Cop For”

How can we end the abuse of stop-and-frisk practices? “It’s simple,” says New York City police officer Adhyl Polanco. “Don’t stop the innocent people.”

In a new video for the WhereIAmGoing.org campaign, Polanco talks about what’s wrong with the city’s stop-and-frisk policy.

After joining the force in 2005, Polanco thought it was his dream job. But in 2009, he found himself obligated to stop people who were simply walking home from school or to the store, or just hanging out outside. In one instance, he was ordered to arrest a 13-year-old boy and not ask questions.

“This is not what I became a cop for. This is not what I wanted to do,” he says.

Polanco has even found himself stopped and frisked by other police officers.

After he complained about the unfair implementation, including in a letter to Internal Affairs, he was suspended from the NYPD with pay. 

Black and Latino young men should not have to grow up with an expectation that they will be stopped and unjustly harassed because of their race and gender. The discriminatory policy has only created a sense of fear and anger toward police rather than the trust that is needed to build safe communities.

“You should be working with the community,” says Polanco. “You should be gaining community trust. There’s a lot of things that can make the community safer. Stopping and harassing innocent people is not going make the community safer.”

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33 Comments

Police mandate is conflict resolution while minimising harm,and not crime fighting.

Adhyl Polanco, thank you so much for this glimpse of how human dignity and law enforcement are not at odds.

Break the chain today, this is how pain patterns get passed on.if more cops would have compassion for the community's they serve would be a grest place to start.

If the Executive ranks of America's police cannot direct their activities within the framework of the US Constitution, they should be thrown out of office. They are the problem!

Mr. polanco is a very honest, and noble whistleblower policeman. He has stood up against the corrupt command chain, and paid a dear price.

This is something that we have been subjected to all our lives...we who were born and grown up in the ghettoes/slums in Kenya...hiyo Ni kawaida kwetu (to us this is ‘normal’) almost every youth who have spent his life in the low- income areas will tell you. personally, I was stopped by two cops in the city and I stopped, but when I refused him to put his hands in my pocket telling him to let me do it...I was slapped , beaten up and ended up locked for three days in a police station...personally I know how it feels..

This policy of the police is in all fours with the Nigerian Police "stop and search" policy. It undermines the basic rights of the innocent free citizen! "Let's join hands to stop this attitude of the Police the world over!!

A critical step, ending ethnic profiling, without which little else can be resolved, but it is only the first of many important steps. Taking such steps will lead us in the direction of a truly just, fully inclusive, and more prosperous society.

What a shame .Our stupid gov. Leave these people alone. It makes me sick.

Esperemos que alguna vez los derechos humanos sean para todos y no solo para los que pueden pagar por ellos

This documentary is a bomb ! NYPD high level police officers should be held accountable and judged for harassment and mis-usage of their power.
Thank you Polanco to disclose this ugly truth to the public. Thank you OSF to spread it.

Bravo! Great Job Homey. Way to exercise your voice for Justice.

With or without a badge... it is up to us to 'police' our neighborhoods. We the People!

What did Plato say regarding the consequences of refusing to participate in the affairs of our cities?

Thanks Polanco. You can help police my nieghborhoods.

FEAR- they try to spread it because they are the ones so full of fear they feel the need to stoop to such a pathetic level. Although it is important the job be done...how about some respect and real leadership instead of whats really bullying all over again. Stand for what you believe in.

My black friend was stopped and frisked by the Glendale Police Dept in Glendale, Ca. We were looking in the empty lot next door to my apartment for a skunk that sprayed my car. They made me show my drivers license to prove my residence. Waste of time and resources. Dumb.

The most convincing argument for human justice on this issue that I have seen or heard. It needs to be shared as much as possible.

As history has shown us, removing people's rights and applying racism to policy does not make for safer neighbourhoods or communities - it weakens them. Please stop these practices - they create oppression!

Thanks to all the comments. i especially appreciate the focus on the negative impact fear and intimidation has on individuals and that this is a violation of human and civil rights that needs to be stopped

Dear Rashid-This was beautifully done and so articulate. Thank you for your work. Constitutional policing empowers people, affirms the rule of law, and promotes trust in the community. Anything less, and our police officers become their own worst enemies. Polanco's use of the word "violated" to describe the impact of being stopped and searched carried so much weight and sadness. He deserves a medal.

I agree with Pierre, this documentary and all of those produced are "the bomb". thank you for sharing your comments everyone.

My country Indonesia has different scene, it is very often the poor report in the police will not be processed at least you have some amount of money to pay. One of my relatives was raped, she reported the case to the police but they asked her to pay but as the family has no money, the case end in golden silence. The police also had to find extra income through those violating the traffic rules.

Is this the same guy that was suspended for hitting or shoving a supervisor after refusing a basic assignment, while at work , and unrelated to any of his claims?

he got suspended after reporting the corruption to internal affairs for trying to go to the hospital with his ill parthner. grabbed by the chest by a now promoted captain and striped of his gun and shield for that....for over four years. as he pushed the hands of the capt off he got charged with discourtesy by nypd

Thanks to OSF for this publication. Such an act NYPD makes the public bias the superiority of US. This is cowardice at its peak. We all share equal rights, why blacks, Muslims and the Latinos?

34 precint and manhattan north se tan pasando en the heights harrasment people for no reason si no tienes id the lock u up y ticket for blockin the side walk aki en nyc no ay privacida eto ta peor k cuba

Good job sir,I SALUTE you sir!!!!

And when a cop doesn't frisk someone who later kills someone, then what? Could be anyone in your family that dies and then you'll complain that cops don't protect the public!!!!

Hopefully you're kidding. If not, let's hope they frisk you FIRST.

Thank you for standing up for righteousness. You are what is sorely needed in NYPD and Police forces around the Country
Support this important web series coming in November with a "LIKE" just go to Facebook and look for us under shooters stance the web series. One word.

My child was a victim of stop and frisk back in 2009. He was falsely accused and beaten, This was the first time ever that an encounter like this occurred, The cops concocted a story so that they could have a reason to arrest my child. I still suffer till this day from the memories of that nightmare and the fact that we had a lousy lawyer, The system just decided to add another Hispanic in to their data. It is just the reality that if you are poor and Hispanic there is no help.

I grew up being harrassed by police. This is nothing new. What it has done is given me a deep resentment towards nypd. If i am stopped for no reason, know this, I will be giving plenty of attitude.

Hopefully you're kidding. If not, let's hope they frisk you FIRST.

is it that hard for law enforcement to follow the law?

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