Staten Island Advance
September 9, 2014


NYPD commissioner to ask for more than 1,000 new police officers

By Anna Sanders

CITY HALL -- Less than six months after Mayor Bill de Blasio said he doesn't believe the NYPD needs a bigger headcount, Police Commissioner William Bratton on Monday said he would request funds for more than 1,000 new officers in the future.

"How many cops do we actually need? I can be very comfortable in saying to you we need more, that's quite clear," Bratton said after a City Council hearing.

Officials are working to determine what size the NYPD should be as the department undergoes "re-engineering," Bratton said during the hearing.

"We are in the process of closing in on those numbers, that it will be in excess of 1,000 additional officers we will be looking for," he said.

The de Blasio administration resisted increasing the NYPD headcount when City Council members pushed for 1,000 more cops to be included in the budget earlier this year. At the time, Bratton said that the funding was not there.

The 1,000 officers would have cost $94.3 million in fiscal year 2015 and another $97.9 million in fiscal year 2016.

Bratton said he had told de Blasio that he needed time to determine cost savings and if he needed officers at all. That process, he said, has lasted eight months. Before next year's budget negotiations, Bratton will present both de Blasio and the City Council with "an actual headcount that's based on analysis," he said.

In a statement, spokesman Phil Walzak said the de Blasio administration increased the NYPD force through civilianization. 

"The mayor and his team will review staffing and expenditure proposals received from every commissioner and department when the regular budget process begins next year," Walzak said.

'NECESSARY RESOURCES'

Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said the City Council would work with the NYPD to come up with "necessary resources."

"Many of us continue to believe that more personnel is necessary," Ms. Mark-Viverito said.

Staten Island Council members are among them.

City Council Minority Leader Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore) was one of the first to propose adding additional officers. On Monday, he said was happy to hear of Bratton's support for more manpower.

"With the rate of attrition and desire of the de Blasio administration to rollout new training and community policing programs, I feel this realization was only a matter of time," Ignizio said. "Should we have all agreed on this fact months ago, we would be ahead of the game."

Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) said she and her colleagues "diligently" pushed for the cops, but were "rebuffed."

The Council members had argued additional police would help reduce crime in some precincts where shootings had increased, as well as fill staffing holes. There are 6,000 fewer officers in the NYPD now than before Sept. 11, 2001.

Councilman Steven Matteo (R-Mid-Island) said it's important for the city to have the resources to "ensure the quality of life gains that we have made over the last 20 years."

"Better late than never," Matteo said of Bratton's comments Monday.

Bratton revealed his plan to ask for more officers at an oversight hearing on the NYPD's plan to enhance officer training in the wake of Eric Garner's death in police custody.

"It seems that it took the Eric Garner incident for the police department to recognize that there is a need for additional staff," Ms. Rose said. "I think it's pretty ironic."