The Chief
May 1, 2009

Federal Bill to Add Cops To NYPD Clears House

Could Mean 2,100 More

By TOMMY HALLISSEY

The House of Representatives April 23 passed the Community Oriented Policing Services bill that would provide funding for the NYPD to hire 2,100 Police Officers across a fiveyear period.

The COPS bill, which still must pass the Senate and be signed by the President, comes on top of the $1 billion in the stimulus bill for new beat cops that would allow for the hiring of at least 220 Police Officers. U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner has predicted that as many as 410 new officers could be funded by the stimulus money.

PBA: Sorely Needed Help

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch heralded the passage of this bill, saying, "The lack of resources at the NYPD puts a tremendous strain on our members who work hard to keep this city safe. The additional manpower that will result from the COPS program will provide some sorely needed help. We are deeply grateful to Congressman Weiner, who has been a strong advocate for law enforcement in Washington and who has championed this legislation in Congress."

The COPS bill, which provides $1.25 billion nationwide each year for five years, also encourages localities to hire former soldiers as police officers and to hire police officers to focus on homeland security and terrorism.

The Federal Government would provide three-year grants to localities to help cover the cost of hiring new officers or retaining current ones under the bill. The Federal grant covers 75 percent of the cost of the officer, including benefits, while the locality covers 25 percent. The municipalities are required to maintain the officer's employment for an additional year.

'More Cops, Less Crime'

Mr. Weiner said, "Our safety challenges can't take a backseat to our economic ones. More cops means less violent crime and greater vigilance against terrorism—and now the Feds will help pay for them."

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the NYPD was playing a waiting game because it still did not know how many officers it would get from the stimulus package, though he estimated the number of officers would be about 220.

"When would that happen?" Mr. Kelly asked April 22 after speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Hard to say. Right now we have canceled the January 2010 police class so if we were able to get some Police Officers we would look to hire them in January 2010. We're hoping to get as many as we can find."

Mr. Kelly said there is no indication of exactly when the Federal funding debate would be settled. "We are waiting for things to kind of crystallize in Washington," he said. "There are different pieces of legislation that are out there and they have to come together."

Says Cop Numbers No Sure Thing

The Police Commissioner said the money for 2,100 officers in the COPS bill is not set in stone and the result of some speculation. "We're still trying to get some definitive information," he said.

The projected headcount of the NYPD, which is now more than 5,000 officers below a 2001 high of 41,000 cops, has been in flux over the last year due to pressure from the economy that led to scaled-down Police Academy classes in 2009. Both classes were saved through a deal between Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn late last year, but their size was diminished to 250 cadets from a typical size of more than 1,000.