NEW YORK — After weeks of protest across New York, state and local elected officials are still scrambling to develop plans to divert funding from police departments, and deciding to reallocate the funds toward youth-based social services.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order stating funding will be withheld if any local police department — including the New York Police Department — does not implement plans that reinvent and modernize police strategies and programs based on community input, the statement said. In a joint statement released late Friday afternoon, New York City Council leaders, including the co-chairs of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus and Speaker Corey Johnson, announced their intentions to “cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS [Other Than Personal Service, or nonsalary] spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses.”
Johnson had indicated his willingness to support reforms earlier in the week, and expressed frustration that initial budget cuts forced by coronavirus were not sufficient. “As we have said, a less than one percent cut to the NYPD and a 32% cut to Department of Youth and Community Development is not representative of our values and the City Council will not approve a budget that fails to significantly reduce the NYPD budget and start us on a path to bringing structural change and transformational reforms to the police department,” a statement from Johnson’s office said Wednesday. Reallocating the funding is expected to produce a raucous debate among city officials, no matter how much money is taken from the department, with no clear sense of where the money should go. In a statement, the president of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) predicted that if the city moved forward with its plan to cut funding, crime could increase as a result.
“For decades, every time a city agency failed at its task, the city’s answer was to take the job away and give it to the NYPD.