KOPPELL PROTESTS CANCELLATION OF APRIL POLICE ACADEMY CLASS
In a strong letter to Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Oliver Koppell protested the cancellation of the class of 540 police cadets that were to be sworn in this month. He also said that making this decision without consultation with the Council shows a disregard for the Council’s role as a partner in government.
“In view of the fact that the NYPD is already at its lowest staffing level, with 6000 fewer police officers on the streets than in 2001, the decision to cancel the Police Academy class will seriously compromise public safety,” Koppell said.
He noted that the April class has already been delayed three months. He stressed that each month that passes without the swearing in of recruits means a loss in head count because as every month goes by the NYPD loses over 100 officers to attrition. “Even if the April class is folded into the July one,” Koppell said, “any officers hired in July will not get onto the streets until January, 2012, bringing the head count dangerously low.”
Koppell pointed out that safe streets are a requirement for rebuilding the city’s economy, as the Mayor, himself, has often stated. “Further depletion of police officers’ ranks could erode recent gains in crime fighting, resulting in a diminution of tourism, a major driver of the economy,” Koppell said. He further stated that a spike in crime could also make local residents fearful, especially at night, negatively impacting the restaurant and entertainment industries.
Koppell urged the Mayor to reconsider saying, “Although the current economic situation necessitates the reduction in some city services, I believe it is an unwise budget decision to jeopardize public safety by canceling the April Police Academy class.”