September 9, 2014    

 

Bratton backtracks, asks Council for more than 1,000 new NYPD officers

By Chester Jesus Soria

New York City’s top cop said the Police Department needs more feet on the grounds months after protesting City Council efforts to increase the NYPD headcount.

At an oversight hearing at City Hall Monday, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned lawmakers that he would ask for more money come March to pay for at least 1,000 more officers.

“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 told the Council.

The news came at a surprise to some observers after a long back and forth between Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration and the Council, which budgeted for 1,000 new officers that the mayor and Bratton rejected.

Bratton told reporters that the decision to bring on more cops comes after eight months of the department’s various initiatives under de Blasio, including increased traffic safety programs and moving police from desk duty to patrols in housing projects.

“They’re so short-staffed now they can’t absorb losing those officers shout a negative impact on policing in those precincts,” Bratton said.

In March, Bratton told the Council the demand for more police could be off-set by overtime within the existing 35,000 member force, but said Monday that he will soon ask for not only more cops but more overtime as well.

Original estimates for 1,000 officers in the proposed budget that Bratton declined was close to $100 million.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who staunchly pushed for the additional officers, told reporters she was pleased with Bratton’s latest admission.

“We welcome, again, the recognition that the Council plays a role here, and we want to work in partnership to provide the NYPD with the necessary resources,” she said. “Many of us continue to believe that more personnel is necessary and there was an acknowledgment of that today.”

Police unions also came out in support of Bratton’s commitment to hire more officers, asking him to up it even higher.

“There are about 6,000 fewer police officers on our streets today than on Sept. 11, 2001,” Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said in a statement,” and while 1,000 more officers will help, it is nowhere near the number of officers that we need to bring us to the levels necessary to patrol communities and to safeguard against terrorist acts.”

Follow Chester Jesus Soria on Twitter @chestersoria