New York Daily News

NYPD seeking 1,200 newbies to boost force


  1,200: Number of extra cops to hit the streets, 400: Number of new civilians to be hired by NYPD, 37,000: Number of cops currently on the force, 40,700: Number of cops at NYPD's peak size in 2001

Mar. 22, 2006—More than a thousand additional cops will hit the city's streets as part of the largest expansion of the NYPD in more than a decade.

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly revealed yesterday the city will hire 800 new cops and 400 civilian employees beginning this summer.

The civilian hires will take over desk jobs currently performed by uniformed officers, allowing the NYPD to send a total of 1,200 additional cops onto the streets.

"We must face the reality that as our population grows and as terrorism remains a threat, making the safest big city in America even safer requires additional resources," Bloomberg said, announcing the first city-funded expansion of the NYPD since 1993.

The hiring spree comes after years of downsizing, as Bloomberg confronted the city's worst fiscal crisis since the 1970s. During his tenure, the number of uniformed cops was cut from a peak of about 40,700 in 2001 to roughly 37,000 today.

Despite cuts, the city recorded just 540 homicides last year - 26 fewer than in 2004 - and major crime has dropped 25% during the past four years.

"We are determined to lock in the success ... and continue pushing crime down even further," Bloomberg said.

Kelly said for the first time yesterday that between 200 and 250 cops are taken out of precincts each day to cover anti-terrorism duties.

While citywide crime is down nearly 3% this year, 34 of the city's 76 precincts have seen increases in crime during the first 11 weeks of this year, according to NYPD data through last Sunday.

The precincts with the highest increases include the 94th Precinct in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, up 14.7%, and the 107th Precinct in Fresh Meadows, Queens, up 19.2%.

Kelly said the NYPD's expansion has nothing to do with crime stats. He said increasing the force "has been on my agenda" since he was appointed in 2002.

"One thing that has always separated the NYPD from the rest of the nation's police departments has been our size," Kelly said. "We don't need to wait for the cavalry because we are the cavalry."

Police union officials supported the expansion, but doubted the city could find enough qualified recruits.

"With nearly 3,000 members quitting or retiring each year, the NYPD recruitment effort is struggling to try and keep up with attrition," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. "Unless New York City makes police officers' top pay competitive with other law enforcement agencies, they simply will not get enough good-quality candidates."

Expanding the NYPD will cost $33.8 million in the fiscal year beginning July 1, and the expense will grow to more than $80million in fiscal 2010.

Bloomberg's plan to boost the number of cops won high marks from City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee.

"For years now, the NYPD has been doing more with less. Now, we get to see what Commissioner Kelly can do with his team at full strength," said Vallone (D-Queens). "We're the safest big city in America. Now, we're going for the world."

With Frank Lombardi and Tony Sclafani