The new head of the Special Victims Division hopes to turn around the long-troubled unit by boosting morale and getting detectives to bond with survivors by treating them like family.
“The last thing I want is for a survivor to say, ‘The worst thing I did was call the police,'” Inspector Carlos Ortiz said at police headquarters on Friday afternoon.
“Not every case ends with absolute finality, but we want this survivor to walk out of this situation and say, ‘You know what, the police did everything they could.'”
Ortiz takes charge of a unit tasked with investigating adult rape and child abuse cases, which has long been criticized by attorneys and survivors for how the detectives have handled cases and the handling of cases.
Ortiz thinks he can fix that with his survival-centric approach.
“I’ve always told my officers that if you approach something, it could be as simple as breaking in a car, always look at it like it’s your family member,” he said.
“That’s your mother. That is your father. This is your brother. This is your sister… Approach this survivor as if she were one of your family members and how would you like your family member to be treated?”
The inspector believes his time as a domestic violence sergeant in the Bronx will allow him to understand case numbers directly – but he said he will take guidance from his unit as he settles into the new post.
Ortiz, who most recently served as the special projects coordinator for the Patrol Services Bureau after commanding the 115th Precinct in Queens, will serve as the unit’s third chief since 2018.
Former Assistant Inspector Michael King, who was praised by police officers for his experience as a registered nurse specializing in forensics, was fired by the SVD earlier this year after 17 months in office.
Proponents quickly resented King, claiming he lacked the managerial and investigative skills to lead the unit.
His transfer came months after an emotional City Council hearing, during which survivors recalled numerous problems in handling their cases. Proponents have their grievances part of the systemic problems in the department.
Judith Harrison was tapped for SVD in late 2018 after a damning report from a watchdog found severe understaffing meant investigations were not being properly conducted. Harrison, now deputy chief and commander of Brooklyn North, led the division until July 2020.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/new-nypd-special-victims-division-head-hopes-to-connect-with-survivors/ The new head of the NYPD Special Victims Division hopes to get in touch with the survivors