Cops Could Be the Scarcest in Decades
March 31st, 2009

According to Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., chair of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, the city will soon see a police headcount that rivals the 1990s.

Reminder: Crime in the 90s was way, way up (In 2008, crime was down nearly 78 percent from 1990).

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the City Council this morning that the city could see a peak police headcount of 35,707 officers this year, including a police class this summer of 250. In the mayor’s preliminary budget, the January 2010 class has been eliminated. Under less dire economic circumstances, the city would have two, 1,000 member police classes annually.

This revelation did not sit well with Vallone, who said, under these circumstances, the police headcount could go as low as 33,200 officers. Kelly said the department currently had 5,000 fewer officers than in 2001.

The federal government may not be coming to the rescue either. Kelly said the city would be eligible for up to $500 million in federal funding from the stimulus package that would go towards new officers. That pot, though, is for all cities with populations greater than 150,000. It would be unlikely, Kelly added, that these grants would solve the city’s police headcount problem.

“We plan to apply for funds to replace the recent uniformed staffing losses — roughly 2,000 positions since November,” Kelly said. “However, this grant process will be highly competitive and will likely result in an award of funds to support hundreds of new officers, not thousands, based on past allocations to the city.”

Also a cause for concern, Kelly said, is the reduction of civilian positions — about 1,276 jobs in total. Because the work done by these positions is mandatory — mostly clerical and administrative — Kelly said he would have to take uniformed officers off of the streets to make sure it gets done.

Despite the officer headcount cuts, the city has seen a 13.5 percent drop in crime so far this year.

To Vallone, the crime rate trend — it dropped about 3 percent in 2008 from the previous year — is unsettling. Typically, the city has seen a drop in crime of 5 to 6 percent annually. Anything less, he says, could mean that the trend is reversing. Vallone plans on holding a hearing on this on Monday.

By on March 31, 2009, 4:44 pm
In category: Gotham City,Measuring UP | 2 Comments »

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2 Responses to “Cops Could Be the Scarcest in Decades”

  1. Larry Littlefield Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 8:48 am

    So do we, or will we, have relatively few police officers relative to our population? Please don’t present information (propaganda) like this without saying so. Why doesn’t someone ask Vallone why we need so many cops?

    Please read this post and download the spreadsheet of 2007 Census of Governments data.

    Reference accordingly.

  2. Harry Says:
    April 1st, 2009 at 11:41 am

    The government needs to bail out our police force in america. Its a no brainer send billions to organizations like NYPD. It will create jobs and keep us safer!!

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