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On June 30th New York’s city council voted to cut nearly $484 million from the NYPD’s annual $6 billion budget and shift funding to other agencies as well as youth and social services programming.
According to a USA Today summary, “the changes will cancel a nearly 1,200-person police recruiting class set for next month (though another class in October is scheduled to go forward), curtail overtime spending and shift school safety, crossing guards and homeless outreach away from the NYPD.” (emphasis mine)
On cue, the addled mayor released a statement saying in part, “This budget prioritizes our communities most in need while keeping New Yorkers safe.” About as safe as a COVID-era New York nursing home.
The cognitive dissonance of reducing cops in a big city struggling with increased violent crime, a pandemic, and increasingly desperate residents challenges the senses. But set aside for a moment these until recently obvious observations. There is another consideration completely absent from any of this childish talk of defunding the police.
The NYPD operates one of the world’s foremost intelligence bureaus whose primary purpose is to detect and disrupt criminal and terrorist activity in the city and beyond. Its role came immediately to mind when I heard of the council’s vote.
Two summers ago I sat at a professional symposium, riveted listening to one of NYPD’s foreign liaison officers present an unclassified overview of a particular program the intel bureau maintains with law enforcement entities worldwide. They actively thwart plots and track criminals. At any given time the bureau posts more than a dozen exchange officers to make intelligence analysis sharing work effectively. It carries on similar agreements with state and federal agencies.
I have not read whether or how much the intel bureau’s resources are to be diminished. But I contemplate the coming blow to the yeoman’s work the NYPD intelligence bureau does on behalf of public safety. Safety indeed Mr. Mayor.
I feel a dystopian novel’s dread as I witness unthinkable events repeatedly crashing through the Overton Window into reality. New York is headed for trouble. Its historical, cultural, and economic role in our nation means we all, to different extents, are too.
I am interested in other consequences, unintended or otherwise, that members have seen in the rush to defund the police. What are you seeing and anticipating out there?Published in