Queens Gazette

January 15, 2003

Monserrate Says ‘No More Cop Layoffs’

By John Toscano

City Councilmember Hiram Monserrate, who has been leading a move to get more police officers assigned to his Corona district, showed on Sunday that his concerns for public safety go beyond his council district boundaries.

The one-time officer prompted by surging talk about 1,500 more cop layoffs because of budget difficulties, to bring the force back to the 35,710-officer level of 1993, blasted the possible move at a City Hall press conference on Sunday.

Referring to the 1970s fiscal crisis when police force reductions triggered an upturn in crime, Monserrate declared, "Talk of layoffs is scary and irresponsible at a time in our city of economic downturn."

Another ex-cop, Councilmember James Davis (D–Brooklyn), echoed Monserrate, saying, "As layoffs take place, crime goes up." He said there could be reasonable cuts, but he and Monserrate were holding out for no more cuts.

Monserrate could be signaling a fight in the council, when the 2003–04 budget is being negotiated to peg police personnel levels at rates that would assure the public’s safety. That's what he’s been doing regarding Corona, in tandem with Assemblymembers Ivan Lafayette (D–Jackson Heights) and Jose Peralta (D–Corona). They’ve demanded more cops to quell an ongoing mini-crime wave and they will get some under a new police anti-crime initiative.