NYPD scraps traffic and homeless units and reassigns officers to fight rising gun crime

A New York City police officer sits in a cruiser at a checkpoint surrounding Times Square: (2020 The Associated Press)
A New York City police officer sits in a cruiser at a checkpoint surrounding Times Square: (2020 The Associated Press)

The NYPD has cut traffic and homeless units to focus on rising gun violence following mayor Bill DeBlasio's move to defund police, according to reports.

Senior police leadership transferred 114 members of the traffic congestion mitigation and 85 members of the homeless outreach units, according to official documents seen by The New York Post.

The 199 officers were reassigned to precincts to combat a recent spike in shootings across the city, an NYPD spokesperson told the Post.

It comes after the New York City Council defunded the NYPD budget by nearly $1 billion.

The NYPD and the mayor's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

During a press conference last week, Mr DeBlasio responded to community groups' recommendations to remove police from roles including traffic enforcement.

"I just see these things differently than some of the advocates do. Traffic enforcement, I think, does belong in the NYPD," he said.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea called City Hall leadership cowards who won't stand up for what's right or have a "goddamn clue what they're talking about", in a video leaked to the NY Daily News.

Mr Shea has heavily criticised police reform bills signed by the mayor, and said that the chipping away of resources to the NYPD would adversely affect public safety.

"They are failing at every possible measure to be leaders, and they throw it on the backs of the men and women of this police department, and curse them with one hand and then blame them with the other," Mr Shea said during a weekly CompStat meeting with top police officials.

"People that don't have a clue about how to keep New Yorkers safe suddenly think they know about policing. I have another thing to tell them -- they don't have a goddamn clue what they are talking about. But we are not going to let them destroy this city," he continued.

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