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Council Members Tell Mayor to Hire More Police Officers

Say Extra Cops Saves Overtime Costs

Before Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented the fiscal year 2014 executive budget last Thursday, May 2, City Council Member Elizabeth Crowley joined 27 of her colleagues in urging the mayor to increase uniformed headcount in the Police Department and curtail overtime spending.

“The use of overtime spending should not be used as a long term solution to compensate for fewer officers,” the City Council members wrote in a letter delivered last Monday, Apr. 29.

Since 2001, the uniformed headcount for the NYPD has been reduced by more than 6,000, and overtime spending has increased from just over $200 million to nearly $600 million. Current budget projec- tions call for almost $500 million for future years.

“The increased use of overtime clearly indicates that the NYPD needs more police officers,” said Crowley. “The NYPD has been given increasing responsibilities, including the department’s growing counter terrorism unit, and we must pass a budget that gives the NYPD the resources and officers needed to keep our city safe and secure.”

In their letter to Bloomberg, the Council members stated, “It is especially urgent to allocate funding for additional officers in the fiscal year 2014 executive budget as two 22 cohorts are about to retire. The Police Department spent $586.1 million on overtime expenses during the fiscal year 2012 budget alone. Budget projections indicate that the Department plans to spend almost $500 million in yearly overtime spending for the foreseeable future.”

They also referred to testimony by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly at a Mar. 12 meeting of the City Council Public Safety Committee, in which Kelly “stated that approximately 40 percent of the Department’s overtime budget is for planned events.”

“We believe that using overtime to fund such a large percentage of planned events amounts to a fiscally wasteful use of overtime spending,” the Council members wrote to Bloomberg. “Consistent overtime expenditures indicate the need for additional officers. The use of overtime spending should not be used as a long term solution to compensate for fewer officers.”

“By hiring more police officers and implementing the voluntary vacation pay program, in which police officers may choose to work through vacation days for straight-time compensation, the city will be safer and the Department will run more efficiently,” the lawmakers added. “We strongly believe that the Department’s overtime budget is unnecessarily high and that hiring additional police officers is the best way to reduce such spending.”

Joining Crowley in signing the letter were Council Members Peter Vallone, Jr., Jumaane D. Williams, Daniel Dromm, G. Oliver Koppell, Peter A. Koo, Vincent J. Gentile, Margaret S. Chin, James Vacca, James S. Oddo, Jessica Lappin, Karen Koslowitz, Ydanis A. Rodriguez, Fernando Cabrera, Lewis A. Fidler, Donovan Richards, Diana Reyna, Inez E. Dickens, Letitia James, Mathieu Eugene, Stephen Levin, Leroy G. Comrie, Mark Weprin, Ruben Wills, James G. Van Bramer, David G. Greenfield, Michael C. Nelson and Helen Diane Foster.

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