NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Questions are being raised about the use of NYPD detectives assigned to Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s protective unit being assigned to ferry his son, Dante, back and forth to college.
You usually see the detectives guarding the mayor and his wife, Chirlane McCray. After all, their job is to protect them.
But is their job to act as highly compensated and armed Uber drivers to take his son to and from Yale University, where he was a student?
“I don’t think that’s in the job description of the detectives at all,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association.
Palladino was commenting on reports that Executive Protection Unit detectives drove Dante to and from New Haven. Sources with direct knowledge told CBS2 that detectives made the trips seven or eight times during Dante’s freshman year.
“The purpose of the detail is for safety and security. It’s not for running errands or personal family business,” Palladino said.
When asked if taxpayer dollars are supposed to spent on gas and tolls to take the mayor’s son to college, Palladino said, “I think the big question is was there a specific and credible threat to Dante? If there was no specific credible threat against him than it is a waste of taxpayer’s money, dollars.”
Sources said the Department of Investigation is looking into the matter. A spokesperson told Kramer, “DOI is aware of the matter and declines further comment.”
Asked for comment, a de Blasio spokesman tweeted, “The mayor didn’t order protection, NYPD did.”
An NYPD spokesperson said it doesn’t discuss the security of elected officials.
Betsy Gottbaum, executive director of the good government group Citizens Union, was critical of the mayor.
“I think is a misuse of a public service that is very important for the mayor, but I don’t think it extends to the siblings, the children, in his family,” Gottbaum said. “I think it is a symbol a little bit of sloppiness and a disregard for taxpayer money. I don’t understand why a perfectly healthy kid needs a New York police detail to take him back and … to and from college.”
Gottbaum said the mayor should reimburse the city for the gas and tolls, much as de Blasio’s former correction commissioner had to reimburse the city form using his city car for numerous trips to Maine.
Dante has since graduated and is said to be contemplating a career in politics.