On Tuesday, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer spoke to some experts and the mayor, himself, about possible solutions.
The protesters who continue to march through city streets want police reform and substantial cuts to the NYPD budget — a $1 billion haircut.
Although the mayor and the City Council will ultimately make the decision, Comptroller Scott Stringer is suggesting a hiring freeze.
“The mayor talked a good game over the last seven years, a tale of two cities, and a whole host of false promises, but now let’s really take a look at what’s going on and listen to what people are saying,” Stringer said.
Stringer said the city can cut $245 million annually — $1.1 billion over four years — through attrition, adding nobody would get fired.
The NYPD head count can be reduced to 35,000 — the same number in the Department from 2011-2016, when crime continued a steady decline.
“We have a large police force, the largest in a very long time. My proposal, I think, is a way of meeting some of these new challenges, that are actually old challenges, in a responsible way,” Stringer said.
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Pace University professor Darrin Porcher, a retired NYPD lieutenant, said don’t cut the size of the police force.
“I’m diametrically opposed to the cutting of personnel,” Porcher said.
He said, instead, cut the NYPD’s infrastructure. Don’t buy new police cars, and don’t install new high-tech surveillance cameras for now.
“At this stage of the game we’re, unfortunately, not able able to purchase that new house, so to speak. We have to settle for the old one,” Porcher said.
Kramer spoke to Mayor de Blasio about Stringer’s proposal.
“Do you think that’s something you might look at as a possibility for cutbacks?” Kramer asked.
“I want to make sure that whatever we do ensures the ability to keep all neighborhoods safe, including some neighborhoods that still have never knowns the safety they deserved,” de Blasio said.
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“Are you saying you don’t want to touch patrol strength, especially with the NYPD coping with a spike in crime?” Kramer followed up.
“Marcia, I’m very concerned about that spike in crime. Look, I don’t know what’s going to hit New York City next, if it’s going to be locusts, or what it’s going to be,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said he’s trying to strike a balance between a heath crisis, a fiscal crisis, and the need for real police reform.