CCRB Considers Cutting Pilot Prosecution Program
November 22nd, 2010
Faced with a budget deficit and a mandate from the Bloomberg adminsitration to cut costs, Ernest Hart, the chair of the board, told Gotham Gazette that nothing was off the chopping block, including the highly anticipated program.
“The final decision as to how we would implement the budget cut has not been made,” said Hart. “When we look at the budget, we look at all the programs. I wouldn’t say that it was not under consideration with everything else. Everything is under consideration.”
The pilot program, which was revealed in February, would give the civilian board the power to prosecute a handful of cases independently for the first time. Currently, the board investigates and substantiates complaints of police misconduct across the city, but the prosecution is left up to the Police Department. For years, critics have been calling for independent prosecution by the board, claiming the police department has increasingly failed to prosecute cases referred to it.
Last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed nearly $1.6 billion in cuts to help close a $3.3 billion budget gap in the next fiscal year. Under the proposal, the city’s work force could shrink by more than 10,000 employees, including 6,166 teachers. The adminsitration proposed about 6,200 layoffs.
The board faces a $300,000 cut in this fiscal year and a $157,000 cut in the next. According to a City Council report from June, the new prosecution unit would cost $366,000.
Should the board decide to slash the program, it would not be the first time a similar proposal fell through. The Giuliani administration promised to give the board independent power to prosecute cases in 2001, but the proposal was later abandoned.
The board is working with the Office of Management and Budget to determine the final cuts, which should be made shortly, Hart said.
The NYPD remains “fully supportive” of the prosecution program, Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said in an e-mailed statement.By Courtney Gross on November 22, 2010, 7:42 pm
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