NYPD Was Supposed To Replace Hundreds Of Cops Working Administrative Jobs With Civilians. It Never Did.
from the then-it-lied-about-it dept
There’s apparently nothing the New York Police Department won’t lie about. When it comes to being overseen, the NYPD seems to feel it has no obligation to provide data, answer questions honestly, or cooperate with any accountability efforts.
And the NYPD has made it clear it doesn’t believe city laws (or even its own internal policies) should apply to it. Multiple legal rulings over the past several years have ordered the NYPD to staff administrative positions with civilian employees, rather than (much more costly) uniformed officers. This is part of being a good public servant — one that seeks ways to reduce the cost of services provided to the public.
It just makes sense. Officers who are out on the street should receive higher salaries that reflect the dangers they face as they perform their duties. If they’re just running a desk, the pay should be lower. The fewer higher-paid cops staffing desk jobs, the more money available to hire uniformed officers to work the streets.
But the NYPD doesn’t want to do that. And since it hasn’t, it has had to find ways to cover up its decision to ignore city policies and court orders.
For five years, the NYPD told the City Council in quarterly reports that it had over time replaced hundreds of cops handling clerical duties with less expensive civilian employees.
But when city auditors asked for data to back up the figures, the department produced “three different datasets, none of which were consistent with the other,” according to City Comptroller Brad Lander’s first published audit, which was initiated by his predecessor.
“The NYPD was not able to provide supporting data for the progress it has reported,” the audit being released Friday found.
Not only that, but the NYPD refused to provide information on payroll for uniformed staff currently performing administrative work, making it impossible for the city auditor to estimate how much the department could save by replacing officers with civilian employees. As of 2002, it was estimated the NYPD could save more than $24 million by converting certain positions. Presumably, the potential savings are much higher two decades later, but there’s no way of estimating the current potential savings, thanks to the lack of cooperation from the PD.
Any savings would be appreciated. The NYPD’s budget hovers around $5-6 billion a year. In reality, the amount of money New Yorkers pay to keep the NYPD in business is roughly double that. So, there appears to be plenty of money for hiring civilians, especially when offset by the cost of putting existing officers back on patrol, rather than spending millions to educate and certify a new class of police academy candidates.
In response to the auditor’s recommendations, the NYPD offered excuses (supposed budget limitations) and bluster (ignoring the recommendation by talking about something else instead). If this is going to change (and it has been in the works since late 2015), the city will actually need to take action against the NYPD if it fails to move forward with these directives. If it doesn’t, it will further solidify the NYPD’s power, making it even more difficult for its oversight to do its job and for those overseeing the department to enforce needed changes.