New York’s police force is poised to increase with 1,300 additional officers in a position shift of New York Mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Leaving aside his initial objections to increasing the number of officers patrolling the street, Mayor de Blasio announced on Monday that the New York Police Department will benefit from an additional workforce of 1,300 officers coming with budget deal of 78.5 billion dollars.
Melissa Mark-Viverito, the City Council speaker has long been an advocate of the measure. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton fully supported Ms. Viverito’s stance and welcomed the turning point of Bill de Blasio.
Surely, the announcement was met with some opposition from criminal justice reform advocates who claim that:
“This deal to increase the N.Y.P.D. head count seems like politics at its worst. It’s disappointing and perplexing that the city budget will increase the N.Y.P.D. head count when systemic problems with police accountability and culture, that allow New Yorkers to be abused and killed, have yet to be fixed”,
according to Monifa Bandele of the Communities United for Police Reform.
Mayor de Blasio has been long pondering the idea of bringing more uniforms on the street. Until this announcement, his confidence in the low crime level across New York City made it an easy ride in keeping his stance.
Nonetheless, a recent surge in both shootings and homicides in the city has placed the crime rate way above the rate experienced during the same period of the previous year.
The 78.5 billion dollar budget deal will be approved this week by the City Council. Compared to the previous year, the increase is estimated at 4.7 percent.
As for the new officers to join the Police force, approximately 300 will form a counterterrorism patrol destined for high risk areas of the city.
The rest, along with their more seasoned colleagues will be integrated in a pioneering project envisaged by Bill de Blasio.
The patrol officers will be part of neighborhood policing models. This means that they would have one-third of a working day to get to know the residents of the areas where they are assigned. A bold move provided that it doesn’t end in more aggressive policing.
Currently, New York’s Police Department counts 34,600 officers. 890 recruits are expected to join with the Police Academy graduation upcoming on July 2nd.
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