NEW YORK CITY—The NYPD will get 1,300 new police officers and the city's libraries will all be open six days a week under a $78.5 billion budget deal announced at CIty Hall by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Monday night.
The 1,300 officers is well beyond what the City Council and Police Commissioner William Bratton have been pushing for since last year when both said there was a need for 1,000 new officers.
De Blasio resisted the call for new police repeatedly, saying that the NYPD was doing fine with the 34,500 officers already on the force. The mayor said that a reduction in things such as stop-and-frisk and low level marijuana arrests combined with new technology gave the police department all the manpower they needed.
But Bratton and the City Council were able to change his mind, de Blasio said at a press conference.
The mayor said that Bratton wants 300 of the new officers to be used for counter terrorism. The new officers also come with a pledge to implement a "firm overtime cap" for the first time, said de Blasio. The new officers will also save the city about $70 million in overtime, said the mayor.
The mayor did not issue details about the overtime cap.
"The key factor was the cost savings," de Blasio said when asked about why he agreed to more police officers. He also cited the Council's prioritization of more police as a factor in the agreement.
But the decision drew immediate heat from police reform groups, many of whom worked to get de Blasio elected when he ran on a campaign of reforming the relationship between police and communities of color.
“This deal to increase the NYPD headcount seems like politics at its worst, and is not in the best interest of the safety or long-term needs of our communities," said Monifa Bandele, a spokeswoman for Communities United for Police Reform.
"It's disappointing and perplexing that the city budget will increase the NYPD headcount when systemic problems with police accountability and culture that allow New Yorkers to be abused and killed have yet to be fixed - and while major needs in our communities are under-resourced," she added.
Mark-Viverito seemed to address those criticism when she highlighted money in the budget for increased library hours and youth jobs.
Under the new budget, $39 million is included to provided universal six days per week service at all city libraries.
An additional $14.9 million is being spent to extend the learning time and provide on-site health centers at 94 failing schools. That brings the total fiscal year 2016 investment for the so-called Renewal Schools program to $163 million.
Mark-Viverito also said the City Council will fund a $1.4 million bail fund to reduce the amount of jail time people who can't afford low bail for minor violations have to spend behind bars waiting for there cases to be adjudicated.
"It's a budget that defends the vulnerable," said Mark-Viverito.
She also defended the 1,300 new officers by saying they would be part of a new community policing effort.
"By expanding community policing and bring the communities they serve closer together we can continue to bridge the divide," she said.