The union that represents rank-and-file NYPD officers hit back at Mayor Adams with a statement Wednesday about cops using cell phones on the job.
During a news conference a day earlier on his budget, Adams was responding to a question about efforts to address fare-beating when he made a remark about transit cops “looking at their phones” while on patrol.
“I am disappointed in the deployment of transit police personnel. I’ve shared this before. All of you who take the train, you walk downstairs and you see five transit officers standing at the booth, looking at their phones,” he said. “We just can’t continue to do that. And I have been meeting with the chief of transit and the police commissioner to talk about better deployment.”
He then elaborated, adding that cops have expressed frustrations that some of their fellow officers are dogging it while on the job.
“What’s interesting is when I’m out there, 2, 3 in the morning, cops come to me. Cops are frustrated. They’re saying, ‘Listen, we’re doing patrol, and there are those who are out there that just are not doing their job,’ ” he said. “So we are going to start taking very aggressive actions to make sure police are patrolling our subway system and not patrolling their iPhone.”
That slight did not seem to sit well with the Police Benevolent Association, whose president noted Wednesday that police officers don’t necessarily want to be saddled with phones.
”New York City police officers did not ask for NYPD-issued smartphones — we were ordered to carry and use them. We are now required to document every minute of our tour on these phones. Every form we are required to fill out and every alert we receive comes through the phone,” PBA honcho Patrick Lynch said.
“If there’s a problem with cops using the phone on duty, NYPD management should change the policies and go back to pen and paper.”
Adams has made public safety the centerpiece of his policy agenda and announced Tuesday that he was adding $182 million to the NYPD’s budget. Unlike his predecessor, former Mayor Bill de Blasio, he so far has avoided any serious conflicts with the PBA.
But he has demanded publicly that police officers conduct themselves professionally and ethically.
When the subject of how to address fare-beating came up Wednesday at an MTA board meeting, Gov. Hochul said she has “confidence in the NYPD to do their jobs as well as the MTA police officers.”
“I’m grateful for what they do,” she said. “I’ve got different approaches to public safety, but I’ll tell you the beneficiaries of this combined approach, the mayor’s and mine together, is we’re going to make sure all New Yorkers not just feel safer, but are safer.”
MTA Chairman Janno Lieber deferred to Adams, a former NYPD captain, when it came to the issue.
“I am going to let the mayor of the City of New York — who runs the NYPD, who is an ex-transit cop and who knows the NYPD up and down — along with his police commissioner, who is a lifelong law enforcement professional, decide how they can most effectively, most productively deploy people and how they evaluate performance,” he said.