New York Mayor Bill de Blasio didn't include an increase in the head count at the New York Police Department as part of his update to the budget this week, potentially setting up a fight with the City Council, reports the Wall Street Journal. City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito has identified an expansion in the NYPD's head count by 1,000 officers as one of the council's highest priorities for the budget that was approved in June. De Blasio opposed such an increase, and Ms. Mark-Viverito and the council backed down.
With the mayor reporting higher-than-expected tax-revenue collections and $1.1 billion in debt-service savings above budget projections, some council members are saying it is time to raise the NYPD's head count. Some council members said their demand for more officers is bolstered by the mayor's own police commissioner, William Bratton, who testified in September that he wanted to increase the force by more than 1,000. The NYPD's budgeted head count has decreased to 35,437 from 40,710 in the fiscal year preceding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The council pegged the cost of hiring 1,000 officers this fiscal year at $94.3 million. “The city's fiscal condition has improved. There is no reason in my mind why we should not be looking to increase the size of the police department,” said City Councilman James Vacca.