NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Friday that members of the NYPD will be headed to Europe in the wake of the Brussels attacks, and slammed a published report claiming that overtime for counterterrorism officers may be in jeopardy.
Speaking to 1010 WINS by phone Friday, Bratton said detectives have not yet been to Brussels or spoke to authorities there, because they do not want to interfere with an investigation still in its early stages.READ MORE: Strome, Panarin Lead Rangers To Win Over Blackhawks
“You don’t want to interfere with the personnel from the respective police agencies that are involved by effectively adding to their burden,” Bratton said. “We are staying in very close contact with them. I have a detective in London. I have one in Paris. And we also have one at Interpol, that are basically very in touch with what’s going on out there.”
Bratton said NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism John Miller had already planned to visit Paris in a couple of weeks, and will likely now also include a visit to Belgium in his trip.
Bratton also outlined the security precautions the NYPD has taken since the Brussels attacks. He noted that that the city has ramped up its capabilities with a 550-person Critical Response Command.
“These are highly trained officers,” he said. “They’re a lot of the ones you see out there with the long guns and the special vests and the helmets.”
The city also has a well-trained Emergency Services Unit and an 800-person Strategic Response Command that New Yorkers may have spotted in the transit system, Bratton said.
“We have beefed up very significantly our capabilities not only to prevent, but respond,” Bratton said.
Bratton reiterated his opposition to a proposed cut to federal counterterrorism funds for New York City. The federal government has proposed cutting terrorism funding in New York City by roughly $90 million.
The White House has said New York City receives the most counterterrorism funding of any city in the country. Bratton said that was true and rightly so.
“We do receive the most money – appropriately. We’re the largest city in America. I think everybody understands clearly that we are the most significant target in America if not the world,” Bratton said. “And the reason we get so much money is reflective of that.… What happens here, the news capital of the world, would have manifestations of extraordinary proportions around the world.”
With the continued risk of terrorism in the city, Bratton said a cut in counterterror funding is insulting and dangerous.
“The $90 million cut that the federal government is proposing is, to be quite frank with you, obscene at this particular point in time with all that’s going on in the world,” Bratton said.READ MORE: New York Weather: CBS2’s 12/5 Sunday Morning Forecast
But Bratton expressed confidence that U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) would work to persuade his colleagues in Congress to restore the funds.
He also slammed a New York Post article published Friday, in which sources were quoted as saying the NYPD may be suspending overtime for its counterterrorism officers due to the federal cuts.
“Once again, the Post has done a story based on anonymous sources among our police officers,” Bratton said. “If they had had the courtesy to call our news office, we could have given them the facts.”
Bratton said in point of fact, the federal government provides quite a bit of money for overtime – which allows the NYPD to staff major events properly and pay officers for training.
Bratton said this year, the number of events and terror threats exhausted the federal funds – and the proposed counterterrorism funding cuts would also mean cuts for federal overtime money. But Bratton said the NYPD is trying to identify city funds so that staffing can be kept constant through the fiscal year that ends in July, not doing away with overtime.
“Why don’t you try knocking on the door?” Bratton said of the Post. “I have a 40-person press office that’s more than happy to answer those questions.”
As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, Deputy Commissioner Miller also slammed the Post story as alarmist.
“And we have a story that has a tone of alarm that in the middle of a terrorist attack overseas, that we have suspended a key counterterrorism program, which we have not suspended. And have not halted,” Miller said.
Miller further said the NYPD always spends its entire federal allotment, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“We have never left a dollar on the table of Homeland Security funds, because this department needs every bit of that money,” he said.
With the verbal equivalent of a raised eyebrow, Miller added, “This is the New York City Police Department.”
“If we need to deploy counterterrorism officers on mission, we are going to deploy them whether it’s covered by federal funds, or city funds,” he said.MORE NEWS: LaVine, DeRozan Lead Bulls To Win Over Nets
In a statement, the NYPD said the Post report also did not acknowledge that more than 500 officers were added full time to the Counterterrorism Bureau just this year.