New York Post
January 9, 2003

COPS FACING THE AX

By PHILIP MESSING

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is considering laying off cops to comply with Mayor Bloomberg's latest directive to cut nearly $100 million more from his department's 2004 budget.

Speaking at a Police Headquarters press briefing, Kelly said that "it would be very difficult" to reach the mayoral objective of slashing costs another 3 percent without ordering the first round of NYPD layoffs since 5,000 cops were let go in July 1975.

Kelly did not say how many jobs could be cut, but pointed out that $65 million would pay for 1,000 entry-level cops.

Pat Lynch, head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, reacted to Kelly's remarks by saying any plan to lay off cops "is not an option."

"The NYPD lost 3,845 officers last year, the largest one-year attrition in the department's history," he said. "Laying off police officers, as this city struggles to fight terrorism and rebuild its economy is not an option. Without adequate numbers of police officers, this city is not viable for business or people."

Mayor Bloomberg has asked the heads of all city agencies to cut 6 percent from their budgets, with the exception of the uniformed services and the Department of Education, which were asked to cut 3 percent. Those cuts came on top of two earlier cuts.

Kelly said the NYPD expects to submit its proposal to the mayor's budget office next Monday.

The NYPD submitted a plan last November that called for cutting 5.7 percent from the department's $3.4 billion budget - projected savings that were to be reached through attrition alone.

But although the city's force has dwindled to 37,210 - about 3,500 fewer than in March 2001 - cutting some $94 million more from the budget would be hard to accomplish without laying off cops, Kelly said.

"We have to look at the totality of the impact," Kelly said of the budget-cutting plan he'll submit.

"We have to continue to provide services. So, obviously nobody would want to lay off police officers, but we have to examine all the ramifications of that $94 million reduction."