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City Hall Mulls Plan to Add 500 Officers to NYPD, Sources Say

By Murray Weiss | June 22, 2015 6:24pm
 The mayor and City Council are apparently working to hire more officers after months of refusals.
The mayor and City Council are apparently working to hire more officers after months of refusals.
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DNAinfo/Danielle Tcholakian

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council are trying to hammer out a deal to hire more NYPD officers, sources say.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Police Commissioner William Bratton have recently called for the hiring of as many as 1,000 officers, but de Blasio has resisted their demands, even as the number of murders and shootings have jumped this year by 6 percent.

The mayor has maintained that crime remains at record low levels — in fact it remains down 6 percent overall so far this year. And he points out that the NYPD’s shift away from stop-and-frisks and low-level marijuana arrests frees up officers to fight serious crime.

Now, after months of gridlock on the issue, word is emerging from City Hall that the two factions are nearing a compromise to hire between 500 and 1,000 new officers.  There are presently roughly 34,500 officers on the force.

However Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch called those numbers a “drop in the bucket since we have lost nearly 7,000 since 2001.”

“The city should fill the new Police Academy now and keep filling it until we reach Safe Streets, Safe City levels of staffing before crime gets out of control," he added, referring to a 1992 initiative that added thousands of officers to the police force. “Understaffing not only empowers criminals, but it leads management to make bad policy decisions like quotas for police activities in an effort to compensate for the shortage.”

Sources say whatever the number of new recruits, the city will try to offset the cost by reducing NYPD overtime and civilianizing scores of NYPD desk jobs to add more officers to the streets.  

"The mayor wants fiscal reforms and cost savings through civilianization and overtime reform, as part of any announcement of new officers," a City Hall official said, requesting anonymity.

Critics say the money would be better spent on social services or on city schools.

An announcement is likely to come when the city finalizes its budget for the next fiscal year. It presently does not include any additional police hires.