The expansion of the New York Police Department, the nation’s largest, still will leave the city with a police force smaller than it was before Sept. 11, 2001, the New York Times reports. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the move is largely meant to address demographic trends: the city’s population has grown by 125,000 since 2001 and is expected to increase by 200,000 more in the next five years. That would be the equivalent of “adding the entire city of Pittsburgh to the five boroughs,” the mayor said.
Bloomberg cut more than 3,600 officers’ positions during his first term through attrition and 1,000 other officers were assigned to counterterrorism. During the fall election campaign, Republican Bloomberg was criticized by Democratic rivals for allowing the department to shrink, and City Council leaders have pressed for a larger force. Though the force is currently authorized for 37,038 officers, there were actually only about 36,450 yesterday. At its peak, New York had 40,800 police officers in 2000.