As reported by WCBS2 (NY):

May 31, 2007 11:59 pm US/Eastern

CBS 2 Exclusive: Secrets Of The NYPD
Even Watchdog Committee Doesn't Know The Truths

NYPD 2005 Firearms Discharge Report
CBS 2 Exclusive: Dept. That Can't Shoot Straight

Lou Young
Reporting

(CBS) NEW YORK The NYPD keeps its internal reports so close to the vest that even elected officials who are supposed to keep watch over the department do not get the information they say they need.

CBS 2 HD obtained a copy of the NYPD's 2005 Firearms Discharge Report and shared it with our viewers last week. The report shows New York officers with a mere 8 percent accuracy rate during gunfights in that year.

The disturbing statistic was news to us, but amazingly it was also news to Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. The Chairman of the Public Safety Committee hadn't even seen the report until we posted on wcbstv.com.

"It doesn't make sense, but unfortunately it is part of a pattern," Vallone said.

Vallone complained that NYPD statistics have been kept under lock and key since the early days of the Rudy Giuliani administration. He said it's a lack of transparency that needs to end.

Looking at the 2005 report, he now says he needs more information.

"They might have a problem," Vallone said. "Or it might be an anomaly. We just don't know because we don't have the statistics, which is why I put a bill in to force them to turn the information over."

Vallone said if the department keeps hanging on to the reports the legislation could go to a vote by this coming Fall.

Critics of the department's firearms training said the NYPD has allowed firearm proficiency to slide even as the high-capacity 9mm handgun has become the department standard.

Firearms instructor and former New York State Trooper John Parmerton says it's simple:

"Firearms and street tactics is a diminishing skill. You have to be constantly working at it, yet you go up to (the NYPD firing range at) Rodman's Neck and fire at a paper target that doesn't move."

New York City police officers are required to go to the range twice a year to be qualified with their weapons, but only specialized units get regular tactical training. Privately, experts wonder if training problems could be at the root of the controversial large volume shootings like Amadou Diallo, or more recently Sean Bell. The department has called these cases of "contagious gunfire." Critics told CBS 2 HD that the incidents look more like poor training: a phenomenon some call "pray and spray."

Whatever the issue, it isn't limited to the NYPD. Eugene O'Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice said the 2005 Firearms Discharge Report is not surprising.

"My reaction is that cops don't hit people a lot," O'Donnell said. "But that's not an NYPD problem, that's a country problem. We had a shooting in Florida where they fired 288 shots and missed the guy 282 times. It's a big issue."

The story can be found along with video and secondary links at; http://wcbstv.com/topstories/local_story_151193456.html

- Janq