February 14, 2002
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that there will soon be more police officers on the streets of New York City, despite his proposed seven percent budget for the Police Department.
But in order to increase the number of officers on the street, Bloomberg said, some officers who have desk jobs will be sent out on patrol.
"We are going to hire 800 civilians to move 800 police officers who are behind desks out in the street, Bloomberg said. That will get you more police officers out in the street."
Still, the actual number of officers will be 1,600 fewer than when it was at its peak in July. Sine then, retirements and a slump in recruitment has dropped the size of the NYPD to 39,100.
The mayor said he'll keep it at that lower level since crime is still going down.
"We are committed to keeping this city safe and I will authorize the commissioner to do whatever it takes if crime starts going up," he said. "I will change the hiring limits. I will find money elsewhere.
Bloomberg even took a page from former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's get tough playbook, although with a different delivery.
"Anybody that thinks they can just go out and be a bad guy is just wrong, Bloomberg said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has voiced some concerns, namely those civilians who will be replacing some of the officers at desk jobs in the precincts."
"We want to make certain that any civilians we bring on board are appropriately trained to replace police officers, said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. In the past, there have been some training issues, they haven't been sufficiently trained. We have to make sure they are properly trained to do those jobs."
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said the Department should be adding officers, not civilians.
"We do not have enough police officers to man the neighborhoods and those special events like the World Economic Forum, Lynch said. And what they've been doing is putting our police officers on overtime. If they have the number of police officers we need to man the radio cars, we won't have to put them on overtime and that'll save us money in the long run."
The mayor said he's preparing for the long run by cutting costs now.
- Andrew Siff