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Leffler says NYPD needs more funding

On the first day of spring last week, City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis) released his recommendations for the New York Police Department’s 2002 budget. He cited the need to maximize federal funding, expand civilian employment in the Police Department and reduce police officers’ overtime.

Leffler, the chairman of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety, said he came to a number of conclusions on the budget after the Committee on Public Safety met with the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget.

He said with the greater projected attrition rate of the Police Department at 2,436 per year by 2004 from the original 1,589 coupled with problems recruiting police officers, the department should request extra funding from the city and federal governments.

He said the NYPD lost $55 million in federal funding because the September 2000 recruiting class was much smaller than expected. He said the class had 361 fewer recruits than the scheduled 1,589.

“As a result, the department’s planned peak uniform head count for 2002 is now 730 positions fewer than originally anticipated — 40,710 and not 41,440,” Leffler said. “The department needs to increase its recruitment levels to maintain an adequate head count.”

Leffler said the department should also seek additional funds from the federal government and request Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to use the money to maintain the 500 civilian positions scheduled to be removed after 2002. This would allow for the hiring of 600 to 800 more civilians to work in the department and fill the positions staffed by the 120 uniformed officers from One Police Plaza.

“The Council should seek to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the department and the administration regarding overtime funding during budget negotiations,” Leffler said.

He said overtime has jumped from $158.6 million to $290.2 million since the 2001 budget and was expected to balloon to more than $300 million. He said to lower cost the NYPD needs to expand civilian employment, “engage in more efficient tour scheduling” and increase the number of officers stationed in precincts.

In addition, Leffler also recommended that similar to the two-year college credit waiver for traffic enforcement and school safety agents, the same benefits should be given to park enforcement officers, hospital police officers and certain members of the department’s civilian staff.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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