John Liu’s office recently published a brief analysis of the newly-expanded NYPD Collision Investigation Squad. Liu has already proposed increasing the number of NYPD crash investigators, and now Doug Giuliano, senior policy analyst for the comptroller’s office, has put up some more numbers that illustrate how woefully inadequate CIS staffing is.
With 19 investigators, in 2011 the AIS investigated 304 of the 3,192 fatal or serious collisions, for a rate of 16 cases per investigator. At this rate, the AIS would have been only able to review an average of eight percent of the average 3,629 cases per year. With the addition of 10 investigators, the CIS can now review about 13 percent of serious and fatal incidents — an improvement, but still not enough.
To investigate an average of 3,629 serious and fatal accidents each year, the NYPD would need 227 investigators.
Giuliano estimates that it would cost about $12 million to hire 198 additional crash investigators, enough to “review every fatal or serious injury crash.” That figure does not include overtime and other costs associated with an increase in staffing levels, nor does it take into account the potential benefits of investigating all serious crashes. The city could save millions in civil payouts if more evidence were gathered from crash sites, Giuliano says, and more crash site data could be used to improve safety.
“Finally, and most important, more than 13 percent of victims and their families deserve to know the circumstances of fatal and serious crashes,” writes Giuliano. “Expanding the CIS would not only bring peace of mind, but also the evidence necessary to secure justice.”