NEW YORK CITY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered more New York State Troopers to the Big Apple to beef up their presence in the city, DNAinfo New York has learned.
As part of his ongoing rift with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo even mentioned pulling investigators from various state and federal task forces and dispatching them — in uniform — to the city's high-profile transit hubs to boost the state's profile in the city, sources said.
“The governor has said, ‘I want to fly our flag in New York City,'” a source said.
There are roughly 50 troopers, wearing distinctive grey uniforms and wide-brimmed hats, already posted at Grand Central, Times Square, Penn Station and at the World Trade Center complex in view of millions of commuters.
But Cuomo wants to expand his strength in the city — just as he is escalating his war with de Blasio.
Cuomo's aides insisted, however, that taking investigators from the task forces was never part of any expansion plans, and that labor contracts prohibited such a move anyway.
It's no secret the governor and mayor have been at odds virtually from day de Blasio took office.
But now Cuomo has turned up the heat on his own police executives, which has rankled officials within the state troopers.
“He wanted a presence in Manhattan and he got it, but now he is unhappy because he wants even more and it is not what he wants it to be,” a source said.
“But we don’t want our troopers used as political, high profile statues," the source continued. "And why should we step on toes just to show our presence and screw with Mayor de Blasio, especially when there are 35,000 police officers already working for the NYPD.”
The state police have roughly 100 officers assigned to joint federal and state task forces fighting terrorism and drug trafficking, among other crimes. In recent months, the drug task forces alone have made several of the largest seizures in state history.
“We don’t see the value of scrapping personnel at successful task forces doing important work for the whole state, and putting them into wooden soldier positions in the city,” another source observed.
A state police spokesman denied such a request was made.
But sources say Cuomo’s office has been retaliating against obstinate state police brass by withholding promotions, transfers and travel assignments.
Among the spots waiting to be filled are highest level vacancies overseeing counter-terrorism initiatives and Internal Affairs.
Cuomo has insisted that he is not feuding with de Blasio and that people were wrong to think he is not working with the mayor.
“I pride myself on being able to work with all kinds of characters in this state," the governor said at a recent stop in Harlem. "I work with Republicans, I work with conservatives, I work with short people, I work with tall people, I work with nasty people, I work with people who think they’re funny — my job is to work with everyone to get things done.”
Joseph D'Amico, head of the State Police, said, "As previously announced, the state police have been actively working to prepare for the assignment of 50 uniform troopers to augment their current investigative functions in New York City.
"The role of the uniform troopers will be counter terrorism, commercial vehicle enforcement and to partner with the MTA as part of the surge announced in September 2014," he continued. "These activities will be coordinated with our larger statewide counter terrorism efforts. The New York State Police remain committed to our part in all New York City task forces."
The state is also looking to rent a facility to house its troopers. Sources say they are eyeing 199 Church Ave. in Lower Manhattan as a possible home.