Walking into the new NYPD Police Academy at 6:15 a.m. on May 15, 2015, is the closest I’ll ever get to visiting Starfleet Academy. As I look for the classroom to sit in on the department’s new “Smart Policing” training, I wander down a mammoth hallway that I literally could have driven a Mack truck down. Recruits walk swiftly in their black and gray uniforms, carrying duffles with a nightstick strapped to the top. As I pass the muster field—back on East 20th, it was a muster deck—cadets are lined up in formation; goslings splash around in a pond that reminds me of a moat.
At the end of the hall, I see a young, black, female recruit stop and salute stand-up posters of Officer Brian Moore, whose funeral I’d attended a week before, and Officers Rafael Ramons and Wenjian Liu, who were killed in Brooklyn’s 84th on Dec. 20, 2014, by Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, supposedly as retaliation for the deaths of Garner and other unarmed black men, before running into the subway and committing suicide. Those executions came soon after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict officers in the Garner death, leading police union President Patrick J. Lynch said there was “blood on many hands,” including that of Mayor de Blasio and on the steps of City Hall.