Park Slope resident Angela Sung Pinsky was announced on Thursday as the newest mayoral appointee to the Citizens Complaint Review Board, the largest independent police oversight board in the United States. We caught up with the noted Sloper to discuss her new role.
Ben Verde: What does your role in the CCRB entail?
Angela Pinsky: I’m one of 13 board members, which after the charter revision changes go in to effect, I will be one of 14 board members. I am a mayoral appointee on the CCRB and my job is to weigh in on cases and complaints that are raised against the NYPD for issues that fall under the acronym FADO (Force, Abuse of authority, Discourtesy, Offensive language).
BV: What’s your background and how has it prepared you for this role?
AP: In a past life, I used to work in healthcare, but in the life that applies to public service, I went to school at NYU Wagner, and during my time there I interned at the mayor’s office where I worked on the Olympic bid and the re-zoning of Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and PlaNYC, which was the city’s sustainability plan for the next 23 years. After that, I went to the real estate board where I worked on a lot of construction and development and sustainability issues. And then now I’m at Association for a Better New York (ABNY) where I’m the executive director. In my role at ABNY, we do a lot of public outreach, civic engagement, and public education around policy issues that the city is facing either in the city, state or national context.
BV: What appealed to you about a role on the CCRB?
AP: I had served on a few other boards for this mayoral administration. I staffed a bunch of boards when I was working for the city. I find every role in the public sphere to be important and I always learn a lot in every role that I’m in and it creates a better sensitivity for me as I think about how the city should move forward. And so when this opportunity arose and thinking about the role that the CCRB plays in the public safety and the task and the community relations between the police and New Yorkers, I thought it was too important to pass up.
BV: New regulations give the CCRB easier access to body cam footage from police officers. How will this help the board better do its job?
AP: I think it’s like any other piece of information and this one providing an objective, non-subjective pieces of information that the board can assess for itself I think is critical. And I think the deployment of the cameras and everyone getting used to the fact that they exist, it’s something that we’re probably midstream on and I have not yet actually viewed any myself. So again, I’m sort of speaking a little bit from a third party perspective. I imagine, and the comments that I’ve heard from the board is that it’s been very helpful so far.
BV: What do you think the board can do better and how do you hope to improve it?
AP: This is pretty early on in my tenure, so I don’t have a lot of experience yet to be able to inform that question, although I may in a few months. But one of the things that as a citizen of New York, my observation is that not a lot of people know what the CCRB is and what it does. And I think that that in its nature it is providing a service and a connection for New Yorkers and if most of them don’t know what it is then that’s probably an issue that needs to be addressed. I noticed CCRB has done a tremendous amount of outreach in the past few years. They are at community board meetings, they are reaching out to different organizations to try and create awareness around it and I think that that is going to serve us very well and I hope to be part of that outreach and communication process.