De Blasio mistaken about the need for cops

The mayor’s position is nonsensical.

Commissioner Bill Bratton did such a good job reducing the numbers of stop-and-frisks that the NYPD doesn’t need the additional cops he has requested from City Hall. Instead, cops assigned to stop-and-frisk can fill the department’s needs.

That is Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest rationale for not including funds for new cops in his proposed $78.3 billion budget. De Blasio’s move appears to be part of the posturing that forms the city’s political pas de trois among him, Bratton and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, which might not be resolved until the city budget is finalized in June.

The mayor’s position is nonsensical. No cops are assigned to stop-and-frisk duty. They are assigned to patrol and begin stop-and-frisks at their discretion. The mayor seems caught between his anti-police campaign rhetoric that included promises of criminal justice reform and his newfound support for police after the assassinations of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

He now refuses to back a proposed law that makes the use of a police chokehold a crime. When Freddie Gray died after he was detained by Baltimore cops, the mayor warned NYC protesters to obey police.

Mark-Viverito, de Blasio’s progressive ally, wants 1,000 new cops. But she opposes Bratton’s “broken windows” policy, a mainstay of his policing philosophy he credits with having reduced crime. It is the heart of his policing legacy. Instead, she has called for decriminalizing such low-level offenses as turnstile-jumping.

But Bratton also has been all over the map about the need for more cops. Last month, the NYPD line was that those cops would be deployed in two 350-officer task forces, one under Deputy Commissioner John Miller to fight terrorism, the second under Chief of Department James O’Neill to better patrol the precincts.

Earlier this month, Bratton said he was certain de Blasio would add the cops after Bratton’s NYPD “re-engineering” report was completed. It has not been made public, but the report apparently shows the need for both task forces.

At his appearance last week before the City Council. Bratton apparently forgot to talk about O’Neill’s task force and stuck only to Miller’s. Perhaps like his predecessor, Ray Kelly, Bratton figures that cops on anti-terrorism duty play better than cops on patrol.

Len Levitt