Wall Street Journal
September 9, 2014


NYPD Commissioner Wants More Than 1,000 New Police Officers

Remarks Came During a City Council Oversight Hearing

By  and MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL

Police Commissioner William Bratton said Monday he wants to hire more than 1,000 new officers, in part to accommodate staffing as the department overhauls its training program.

Mr. Bratton, testifying at a City Council oversight hearing, said the officers are needed to effectively police the city and to make sure that shifts are covered as nearly every officer is retrained on the use of force.

The retraining was announced after the July death of a Staten Island man who was placed in an apparent chokehold by a New York Police Department officer.

During budget negotiations this spring, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito said increasing the size of the NYPD was one of the council's top priorities for the fiscal year that began July 1. Ms. Mark-Viverito and the council officially proposed hiring 1,000 new officers and increasing civilian staffing by 500 to allow uniformed officers performing civilian tasks to return to patrol duties.

Mr. Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio opposed increasing the police force, and the council in June ultimately settled for a budget that included no new hires and the addition of 200 civilians.

Mr. Bratton said Monday the difference between his decision earlier this year and now is that he needed time to analyze how many more officers were necessary.

"Was it 1,000? 2,000? And we are in the process of closing in on those numbers, that it will be in excess of 1,000 additional officers we'll be looking for" in the next fiscal year, Mr. Bratton said.

On Monday, Mr. de Blasio seemed cautious about Mr. Bratton's plan. Spokesman Phil Walzak said, "The mayor and his team would review staffing and expenditure proposals received from every commissioner and department when the regular budget process begins next year."

Asked if Mr. Bratton informed the mayor that he planned to call publicly for new officers, Mr. Walzak declined to comment.

After the mayor opposed the council's new officer plan, "many of us continued to believe that more personnel was necessary to accomplish many of NYPD's goals so today was a step forward," said Ms. Mark-Viverito said.

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union that represents officers, said the additional officers are part of "the answer to quelling crime hot spots around the city." Still, he added, even more officers are needed to keep the city safe.

The retraining program is slated to start in November, when 600 officers will spend three days at the new police academy in the College Point neighborhood in Queens.

The training is mandatory and will likely be an annual part of an officer's job, said NYPD spokesman Steven Davis.