New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill on Thursday slammed the proposed White House budget which aims to slice federal funds to the nation’s largest metropolitan police force.
A chief bone of contention: the proposed cut of some $700 in grant money issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, of which the Big Apple gets one of the biggest bites– approximately $190 million according to de Blasio.
“If this is the opening salvo from President Trump, he is fixing to be met with huge resistance from all over the country,” said de Blasio, pledging to fight not only the cut in federal counterterror dollars but other measures that would affect the city as well. “This will make New Yorkers less safe, it will make it harder to get affordable housing, it will hurt our schools, it will hurt our hospitals, this budget proposal will undermine the lives of New Yorkers in various ways.”
De Blasio railed against the President’s budget on several points but took the Homeland Security grant trim at the forefront.
“We are the number one terror target and President Trump is proposing to take away $190 million dollars from our efforts to fight terrorism,” he said, arguing a lot of mayors and governors across the nation were likely to bristle at their own similar cuts.
Commissioner James P. O’Neill detailed the city gets $110 million annually from Homeland Security, saying it pays for the “backbone” of the city’s terrorism response effort including active shooter training, bomb squad, radiological and chemical detection teams, Vapor Wake canines, intelligence analysis, and surveillance systems.
“Simply put, we cannot afford to cut corners when fighting terrorism,” said O’Neill.
The city has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on counter-terror since 9/11.
The NYPD, in an effort largely unique for a city police force, has for over a decade stationed intelligence officers overseas in 13 locations including London, Paris, Jerusalem, and Amman though this practice has been criticized as being a nonproductive waste of money that is redundant to federal efforts.
In recent months the city has shown off an impressive array of new military-grade equipment including a $7.5 million buy for 20,000 ballistic helmets and 6,000 NIJ Level III ballistic vests billed as being needed for counter-terrorism purposes. The protective gear comes in addition to some $320 million, mostly in federal grants, received by the NYPD for everything from x-ray vans and M4 rifles, to armored vehicles, tactical escape hoods, and belt-worn trauma kits in the past three years.
More recently, the city has argued the extra protection thrown up around Trump Tower is costing $1 million per day.
Meanwhile, the NYPD has come under fire for potential shortcomings in the agency’s more basic equipment, such as holsters.
— Commissioner O'Neill (@NYPDONeill) March 16, 2017