May 4, 2012


Editorial: Cops Stretched Too Thin?


Two weeks ago, after a couple more incidents in which cops were shot at, while Mayor Bloomberg called for greater gun control nationally, two police union leaders said a more-realistic solution might be to add more officers.

Detectives’ Endowment Association President Mike Palladino said it was unrealistic to believe that with 6,000 fewer cops on the job today than when Mr. Bloomberg took office a decade ago, there would be no impact on policing and public safety. Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association leader Pat Lynch said more staff was needed to assist in the effort to get guns off the street.

At the start of Rudy Giuliani’s final year as Mayor, when the uniformed force stood at nearly 41,000, there were jokes by some city officials that cops were tripping over each other because duties and units sometimes overlapped. But if that number was too many, the current contingent is getting dangerously close to too few, particularly for the midnight-to-8-a.m. shift to be adequately staffed in some precincts.

One low-cost solution would be for the NYPD to do more of the civilianizing it should have been doing since a 2004 arbitrator’s ruling on the subject was upheld twice in court, moving able-bodied cops out of desk jobs and on to the street while replacing them with civilians.

But as the City Council contemplates that, it should also weigh whether funding needs to be found to hire more uniformed officers.