Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Police Commissioner Testifies At City Council Public Safety Committee Budget Hearing

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Usually, when the police commissioner sits before the City Council's Public Safety Committee, there's a heated exchange, but that wasn't the case Thursday, as Ray Kelly testified about the budget for the last time during the Bloomberg administration. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly touched on several issues as he testified before the City Council's Public Safety Committee about the the New York City Police Department's projected $5 billion budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

Overtime is projected to hit about $637 million, which would actually be a little more than 2012 figures despite all of the costs and police property damage from the hurricane.

"The department's cumulative costs for Hurricane Sandy now total $189 million, which includes $91 million for overtime, cash and comp time," Kelly said.

The commissioner said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has reimbursed the NYPD for $105 million so far.

Although federal funding for anti-terrorism programs continues to decline, the NYPD still plans to have up to 5,000 public and private-sector surveillance cameras in Lower Manhattan and hundreds of anti-crime cameras across the entire city.

Overall, there will remain about 35,000 uniformed officers, with a total of nearly 55,000 employees in the NYPD.

Although Kelly said that major crime continues to stay at record lows, thefts of smartphones and other personal electronic devices continue to rise, and a recent rash of bias attacks is very troubling for police.

"We had 14 bias events at this time last year, 29 so far this year," Kelly said. "So it's over a 100 percent increase. Twenty-one of them are assaults."

When it comes to the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic, there wasn't any shouting at Thursday's budget meeting, just agreement to disagree for now.

"We, as legislators, have a responsibility to question those practices," said Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, whose district covers parts of Manhattan and the Bronx. "Because we may criticize it and bring it to his attention, we should not be categorized as anti-police or being anti-safe streets. That should be clearly understood."

"I think people who propose legislation that can undermine what we're doing here could run the risk of, certainly, increasing the level of crime," Kelly said.

Many council members said they think the commissioner is way off on that statistic. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP