June 5, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
Brooklyn, NY—Public safety is a pillar of Bill Thompson’s mayoral campaign, and he said outside his boyhood home in Bedford-Stuyvesant that the city needs more cops. Watch Video
He spoke to the press on Putnam Avenue on Tuesday as he began the process of petitioning to get on the ballot. He said in an interview that the city’s police force, the nation’s largest, has fallen below 35,000 police officers for the first time in over 30 years.
“We’re down to 34,000 and change. We need to get up to 37,000 officers to make sure that every community in the city gets the safety it’s entitled to,” said Thompson.
Mr. Thompson first expressed his intent to hire more police officers when he gave a policy speech in January at an event organized by the Association for a Better New York.
Over the past two months the controversial NYPD practice of stop-and-frisk has been the subject of a federal civil rights case, Floyd v. City of New York, but Mr. Thompson believes the tactic in and of itself is valid and a useful police tool, although he also believes it has been misused under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration.
When asked how he would reform stop-and-frisk as mayor, he said it would require thorough training of police officers.
“It would involve and continue to make sure that officers have the training that they need, to know when to use stop-and-frisk and when not to. It would also mean not having performance goals attached to it, and that’s not supposed to have occurred.”
While the ranks of the NYPD have shrunk from 37,000 officers in 2002 to about 34,500 officers today, partly due to retiring officers and the reassignment of officers to counter-terrorism efforts, the comptroller’s office announced on Tuesday a new report showing rising legal claims against the police.
According to the report, the number of new claims against the NYPD overall rose 7 percent in FY 2012 compared to FY 2011, resulting in settlement payments of $151.9 million by the city.
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