New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced on Wednesday that the city is reversing budget cuts targeting the city’s police department that had been planned as a result of the enormous costs of the migrant crisis the sanctuary city is facing.
“Under this administration, more police officers mean safer streets, safer subways and a safer New York City,” Adams said, citing a better than expected tax revenue and “strong fiscal management.”
Adams had announced budget cuts across the board in November, citing the $1.45 billion spent in FY 2023 on the migrant crisis, and expectations that nearly $11 billion will be spent in FYs 2024 and 2025.
“Migrant costs are going up, tax revenue growth is slowing and COVID stimulus funding is drying up,” he said at the time.
The cuts included a hiring freeze for the New York Police Department (NYPD) to bring numbers below 30,000 by the end of FY 2025 from over 33,000 currently. The budget would have also cut firefighters from the FDNY.
The move brought condemnation from the police union, which called it a disaster for New Yorkers who want safe streets.
But on Wednesday, Adams — who is himself a former cop — said that some of the cuts targeting the NYPD and the fire department will be reversed. As a result, there will be an additional 600 police officers on the streets in April, in addition to three additional classes due to graduate this year.
He said that the reverse course was due to his administration, and not because of any additional help from New York state or the federal government.
“While we are grateful to the state and federal support we have received thus far, it is sadly not enough. It did not change our circumstances, we did.”
The police union welcomed the additional hires, but warned that the NYPD “can’t hire its way out of its staffing crisis.”
“We are still at least 2,700 cops below the pre-‘Defund the Police’ headcount. Nearly 3,000 more cops quit or retired last year. Those who remain are stretched beyond their breaking point. 911 response times are still rising, and the City Council keeps piling on new burdens,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry said.
“To keep our public safety gains from slipping away, the city must focus on retaining the cops it already has by improving their quality of life and providing incentives to keep them on the job,” he said.
The funding issue is one of many to arise from the more than 160,000 migrants that have flooded into New York City since the middle of 2022. While some have come from Texas buses sent by Gov. Greg Abbott, many have come independently.
Adams and other liberal mayors have called for $5 billion in funding to help them deal with the crisis. The Biden administration has currently proposed about $1.5 billion in its supplemental spending proposals that is currently before Congress.
Adams has also put restrictions in place on when and where migrant buses can drop off their passengers, and has called for other mayors in the region to do the same. Separately, his administration has launched a lawsuit seeking $700 million from the transportation companies involved in dropping off the migrants.
The effects of the crisis were on display earlier this week when students at a Brooklyn high school were put into remote learning temporarily while nearly 2,000 migrants used the school as a shelter due to incoming storms that made their shelter unusable.
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