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Trump Security Is Siphoning Officers Out of High-Crime Precincts, Pols Say

By Noah Hurowitz | January 11, 2017 10:29am
 Deputy Chief James Kehoe answers questions about the cost of securing Trump Tower at a City Council hearing on Tuesday.
Deputy Chief James Kehoe answers questions about the cost of securing Trump Tower at a City Council hearing on Tuesday.
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William Alatriste

CIVIC CENTER — Extraordinary security measures around Trump Tower in Midtown could hurt crime-fighting efforts of local precincts, according to elected officials who grilled police officials at a City Council hearing Tuesday.

The massive security operation, which has required the NYPD to pull officers from precincts around the city and place them in Midtown, was the subject of a City Council hearing Tuesday organized by Councilman Dan Garodnick.

The cost of securing Trump Tower — which Deputy Chief James Kehoe, executive officer of Patrol Borough Manhattan South, on Tuesday estimated at $500,000 per day and a total of $37.4 million for the period between the election and inauguration on Jan. 20 — has been the subject of frequent discussion by politicians and other officials who are pushing for a refund from the federal government.

The security operation has also been pulling officers on overtime tours away from their usual duties, resulting in fewer officers working in precincts around the city, according to police officials and electeds. 

At the hearing on Tuesday, Councilman Donovan Richards Jr. questioned Kehoe about the removal of officers from high-crime precincts, and wondered if it had resulted in any identifiable spike in crime.

“Communities like Brownsville, southeast Queens, Far Rockaway, where crime is an issue, you’re diverting officers from there,” he said. “Do you anticipate that as you continue to take away from these commands, crime could increase?”

Kehoe declined to answer Richards’ question directly, but said that thus far no evidence has emerged of any spike in crime at precincts that have lost officers to Trump Tower security duty, but Richards continued to press.

“I would assume if there are 100 officers who are normally staffed at a precinct, now there are 70 officers every day, you wouldn’t say that you’re taking away from community policing?” he said. “I know this is no fault of yours, this is more aimed at the President-elect, because we wouldn't be in this predicament obviously if he wasn’t staying in New York City. But is this moving us away from the goal of moving toward a community policing model in New York City?”

Kehoe once again declined to answer the question, calling it “speculation.”

Despite dodging Richards’ question — throughout the hearing Kehoe answered at least a dozen questions by referring to “continuous dialogue” with various parties including the Secret Service — Kehoe reiterated the city’s commitment to getting federal funds to pay for the operation, which he said threatens to upend the NYPD's overtime budget.

“Providing this protection is logistically complex and requires a significant commitment of resources,” he said. “This is why the administration, along with the Council, have called upon the federal government to reimburse the city for funds that have been expended to date.”

The $37.4 million figure Kehoe provided Tuesday was a jump of about $2.4 million from the $35 million previously estimated by City Hall. A Republican-led panel in December offered to pay the city $7 million for the security costs, but police and City Hall officials have continued to pledge to get the federal government to foot the full bill.