As the new counsel for the New York City Police Department, Douglass Maynard, a former partner at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, views his office as a front-line defender of civil liberties and constitutional rights.
"I really think our mission is a civil rights mission," Maynard said. "Ensuring the public safety is the primary civil right. Everything else is dependent on that. I don't see it as a conflict, but a balance of the various interests society cherishes."
Maynard is the third consecutive deputy commissioner for legal matters to bring an Ivy League pedigree into the office. Neither Maynard (Yale College) nor S. Andrew Schaffer (Harvard Law School) nor Stephen Hammerman (University of Pennsylvania) ever wore a policeman's badge. Maynard and Schaffer are former federal prosecutors; Hammerman was vice chairman of the board at Merrill Lynch.
"The NYPD is the nation's biggest police department in the most complex and demanding environment in the world," Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in an email. "These days, the leadership of its legal bureau requires talent second to none, someone with outstanding academic and professional qualifications, matched only by experience and judgment. Doug Maynard has all that and more, and the Police Department and the city at-large are lucky to have him."
The deputy commissioner for legal matters oversees a staff of 150, including 75 lawyersmany of them former police officerswhose duties range from bringing enforcement actions in nuisance abatement matters to accompanying police on the street and providing on-site assistance. The position pays $200,984 a year.
NYPD lawyers are routinely deployed to provide on-the-spot advice in matters of civil disobedience and other large-scale, ongoing operations where officers may need guidance on where a demonstration strays beyond the limits of free speech and into criminal territory, or when an inquiry becomes a stop or a stop becomes a seizure. They are also utilized, for example, when the city wants to shut down a bar serving underage patrons or a grocery selling marijuana under the counter.
"There are lawyers involved in criminal investigations, lawyers handling civil matters," Maynard said. "There are lawyers dealing with legislative affairs, lawyers involved with licensing and gun permits, and there is an enforcement unit involved in nuisance abatement cases. And there are lawyers providing ongoing, continuing advice to the commissioner and mayor on different police matters."
Maynard said Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo's office handles much of the defensive litigation the NYPD confronts on a daily basis. He said the in-house office works hand-in-glove with the city's legal department.
A Connecticut native, Maynard, 53, studied philosophy at Yale before attending New York University School of Law.