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Mayor Disagrees With Council Leadership's Call for More Police Officers

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While Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council have been on the same page this year on virtually every major issue, that changed Wednesday with the mayor throwing cold water on the Council's plans to put more cops on the city's streets.

If you ask the mayor, any concern the City Council has over the size of the city's police force is just a false alarm.

"I think with the force we have right now, we're doing a great job," he said.

"We believe in this proposal strongly," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. "We believe it's necessary."

Mark-Viverito wants to add 1,000 police officers to the New York City Police Department, a signature budget proposal she announced on Wednesday.

The City Council is standing clearly behind her, despite the proposal's $100 million price tag. The mayor is shooting the idea down.

"As we continue to move forward as a city that continues to grow, in wanting to keep our crime rates low, in wanting true community partnership between the police and our local communities, we need to grow our force," Mark-Viverito said.

"The resources we have now are getting the job done," de Blasio said. "And we're in a structural deficit, so I am not in the business of adding to that deficit."

"Like every police chief in America, if offered more or given more, I certainly will use them, but the city's in a very significant budget situation," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.

After all, crime is down, and police, like the rest of the city workforce, are without a contract.

"Being quite frank with you, the issues of pay raises for my personnel, I'm much more supportive of that at the moment than I am additional officers," Bratton said.

The disagreement is the first for the speaker and the mayor in their short tenure, publicly at odds over public safety.

The mayor was not giving a ringing endorsement of another Council idea, providing free lunch to all of the city's public schoolchildren.

"It's still a major expenditure," he said. "It's a good thing to invest in, but it's a major expenditure. The problem is, we are two weeks away now from the executive budget. A lot of things have to be resolved."

The Council and the mayor will discuss and debate these issues over the next several months. They must reach a budget agreement by the end of June.

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