With Mayor de Blasio, commissioners and three members of Congress all standing at his side, outgoing Police Commissioner Bill Bratton this past week ripped into the White House Office of Management and Budget for proposing significant cuts to federal counterterrorism funding for the city, calling its rationale “smoke and mirrors.”
“OMB, they were cute. Very cute in terms of what they were alleging,” Bratton stated, according to Crains New York, explaining that the agency defended the potential reductions by claiming the city had not spent of all of its allocation, which Bratton said was a result of the timing of NYPD’s payments and contracts. Bratton also knocked President Barack Obama for having “‘started this whole mess.”
In its proposed 2017 budget, the White House plans to slash money for the urban protection funds from $600 million to approximately $360 million. In Bratton’s view, the cutback would take out $90 million from the city budget and drop funding for the NYPD’s “entire intelligence analyst program.”
City officials have been pushing back against these anti-terrorism cuts for a number of months. Legislators will be back in Washington for September before returning to their districts for the rest of the year, so “the clock is ticking,” warned Rep. Steve Israel, a Democrat who partially represents Queens.
The budget office’s director, Shaun Donovan, has been touted as a potential future mayoral candidate. While Bratton said he was unaware of such a rumor, the issue of the counter-terrorism cuts would be “the first question that you would ask him” if Donovan decides to run, he told the press.
Back in February, Mayor de Blasio asserted that the provision of funds to protect the city’s 8.4 million residents “is no place to cut corners.” According to the Daily News, he went on, “It is no secret that New York City is one of the world’s top terror targets. . . . As a city and as a nation, we cannot afford to lose this essential funding.”
Senator Charles Schumer was similarly angry over the reduction in the Urban Areas Security Initiative funding, declaring that the federal money “is the cornerstone of effective preparedness and prevention against terrorist threats and enables the NYPD to do all they can to keep New Yorkers safe and secure.”
The serious cutback in cash will also reduce funds for bomb sniffing dogs, cameras, radiological and chemical sensors, active shooter training drills and the FDNY’s response training, Bratton pointed out. “So much of the training, so much of the overtime that pays for so much of the security . . . we will not be able to do that,” Bratton fumed. “A $90 million cut is unconscionable. We cannot let these cuts stand.”