Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday declined to back Mayor Eric Adams in asking New Yorkers to send in photos of cops distracted by their phones at subway stations, saying she and the mayor have “different approaches” to fighting transit crime.
“I’ve got different approaches to public safety,” Hochul said in response to a reporter’s question on whether the would “join in” Adams’ crowdsourced disciplinary effort.
“I have confidence in the NYPD to do their jobs, as well as the MTA police officers. I’m grateful for what they do,” she said. “People need a sense of security. There’s multiple ways to accomplish that.”
Speaking to reporters at MTA HQ in Manhattan after honoring transit workers for their “heroism” during the April 12 subway shooting in Brooklyn, Hochul said her “approach” is to provide funding for improved security.
“Everybody has their own tactics. Mine is to make sure that there’s plenty of resources,” she said, citing new funding for “violence interrupters” and gun law enforcement.
“The beneficiaries of this combined approach, the mayor’s and mine together, is that we’re going to work to make sure all New Yorkers not just feel safer and are safer,” she said.
Police union leaders expressed outrage over the mayor’s call on straphangers to snitch on their members.
“New York City police officers did not ask for NYPD-issued smartphones — we were ordered to carry and use them,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “Every form we are required to fill out and every alert we receive comes through the phone. If there’s a problem with cops using the phone on duty, NYPD management should change the policies and go back to pen and papers.”
Pressed after Hochul left on whether he shares the mayor’s concerns about police distracted by their phones, MTA CEO Janno Lieber also declined to answer.
“I am going to let the mayor of the city of New York — who runs the NYPD, who is an ex-transit cop, knows the NYPD up and down — and a police commissioner who is a lifelong law enforcement professional decide how they can most effectively productively employ people and how they evaluate performance,” he said. “That is their expertise.”