New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ threats to enact a police hiring freeze and make cuts to the department alarmed many within it. Some advocates and politicians questioned the legitimacy of the threat, the New York Times reports. Many found the threats difficult to believe due to Adams’ history as a police captain. Others said it could be an effort to get President Biden’s attention or be a negotiating tactic with the City Council. “This certainly feels like a deliberate Hail Mary to push Albany and D.C. for more help,” said Justin Brannan, a City Council member from Brooklyn. At a town hall in Brooklyn on Monday night, the mayor said the cuts were real but that he did not want to make them. “We all are angry,” he said. “Don’t yell at me. Yell at D.C.” Inside the department, the announcement led many to say they would consider early retirement.
Adams said cuts in the city’s $110 billion budget were necessary because of the growing cost of the migrant crisis. Every agency would be affected, including the Department of Education, which would see its budget cut by $1 billion over two years; the Sanitation Department; the city’s libraries; and popular programs like summer school and universal prekindergarten. Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which for years has accused mayors of increasing the police budget at the expense of other agencies, said that migrants are being made scapegoats and that the budget gaps reflect “a failure of leadership.” She expressed doubt that the police department would actually take a heavy hit. “The NYPD is quite expert at avoiding any cuts,” Lieberman said. “If past is prologue, skepticism is appropriate.”