New York Post
February 14, 2002

POLICE & FIRE

By KIRSTEN DANIS and PHILIP MESSING

The city's Bravest and Finest escaped massive budget cuts yesterday under Mayor Bloomberg's new plan, but the NYPD still will lose 1,600 slots from its all-time high.

"It's not going to diminish our ability to keep crime down," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pledged.

Overall, the NYPD has to find 7 percent in budget savings and the FDNY has to find 6 percent.

"It's not symbolic. This is a significant cut," Kelly said.

The police force, now at 38,100 cops, will lose officers to attrition - but climb to 39,110 in July with a new class of recruits, Bloomberg said.

But that count is 1,600 fewer cops than the 40,710-member peak the force maintained the last two years.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, warned the loss of cops could send crime on an upward swing.

"It will cost you in the long run," Lynch said. "We have to have people to feel safe in order to have tourism come back in this city and business to stay in this city."

The city also plans to hire 800 lower-paid civilians to replace cops now sitting at desk jobs.

The Fire Department, devastated by the death of 343 firefighters in the terrorist attacks, has replaced most of those jobs, the mayor said.

And the department will hire 73 more firefighters in the upcoming year, increasing its uniformed force to about 11,229.

"That will let us spend [$11 million] less in overtime and we will be able to provide better protection to the public for less money," Bloomberg said.

  POLICE FIRE
Proposed budget: $3 billion $1 billion
Cut from current budget: $212 million (7%) $63 million (6%)
Size of existing force: 38,100 11,156
Proposed size of force: 39,110 11,229