Queens Chronicle

Mayor pulls police cuts from budget

May 13, 2010

by Michael Cusenza, Assistant Editor

Mayor Mike Bloomberg last Thursday presented a fiscal year 2011 executive budget, and while myriad city agencies and services would endure significant cuts under his plan, the Police Department would keep the nearly 900 police officers it was expected to lose through attrition.

The mayor’s January preliminary budget proposed reducing the number of officers on the street by 892 through retirement or resignation. But, according to the Bloomberg administration, the executive budget restores funding for those positions, thanks in part to the $3.3 billion surplus generated in fiscal year 2010.

According to the NYPD, currently there are approximately 35,000 police officers on the force.

Some public officials have pointed to the failed terrorist attack in Times Square on May 1, and the suspicious U-Haul truck abandoned on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge last Thursday, as the impetus for the allocation of funds for the NYPD.

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), chairman of the Public Safety Committee, outlined an aggregate of issues that highlight the need for more funding.

“Murders are up, robberies are up, gun crimes are up,” Vallone reported. “That, combined with the attack in Times Square, convinced [the mayor] that the police force couldn’t be stretched any thinner than it already is. We’re very happy that this budget understands that fighting crime and terror has to be the number one priority.”

According to the latest available year-to-date citywide CompStat numbers, murders are up 11.2 percent from this time last year; rapes are up 15.8 percent, while robberies and felony assaults have seen a marginal uptick.

The New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the largest labor union representing NYPD officers, was pleased with the executive budget proposal, but President Patrick Lynch warned that the process is not over, and that the NYPD’s street presence still is dangerously low.

“The NYPD will continue to struggle with 6,000 fewer police officers while shouldering the added burden of fighting terrorism,” Lynch said, comparing the department’s current strength to its peak 10 years ago. “We must remember that the most recent attempt at terrorism in Times Square was only foiled because there was a police officer on the corner.”