WABC-Channel 7
April 23, 2014


New York City Council Speaker calls for more cops on street

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Crime is way down, but there's a call for more cops on the streets of New York City.

It comes from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, but she is running into opposition from a man who is usually her ally, Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He says the city simply can't afford to put more police on the streets.

The City Council sees a lot more money than the mayor does in next year's budget.

And so, why not hire 1,000 extra officers at a cost of $97 million?

"We believe in this proposal strongly. We believe it is necessary," said Mark-Viverito.

The City Council also wants to spend $24 million making school lunches free, $7 million in capital money to repave and fix pothole-marked streets, and it wants to make 5,000 apartment vouchers available for the homeless.

But it's the police proposal that could have the biggest impact on all of us.

"Well, crime is one of those things you don't want to turn your back on. You have to keep reinvesting and insuring you have well-trained police officers to take over for those that are leaving," said City Councilman Vincent Ignizio.

Back in 1994, the police force had less than 30,000 cops. In 2001, right after 9/11, we had almost 40,000 on the beat, after years of pushing by Mayors Dinkins and Giuliani.

But today that figure is down to just over 35,000.

Police commissioner Bill Bratton Wednesday said he likes the idea of more cops, but it's not his top priority.

"Being quite frank with you, the issue of pay raises for my personnel, I'm more supportive of that at the moment than I am additional officers," he said.

Nobody is against the idea of more police. But the mayor has to balance his budget, and he knows $100 million is no small price tag. "We're in a structural deficit, so I am not in the business of adding to that deficit, when I believe we can get the job done with the resources and personnel we have now," said the mayor.