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Hochul’s ludicrous subway mission


New York Governor Kathy Hochul has ordered the immediate deployment of the National Guard troops and State Police troopers into the subway system to reduce crime. Apparently, she did not check with local law enforcement for their opinion. 

While the usual suspects weighed in on the merits or lack thereof of the governor’s plan, one thing is certain, most agree that there is little to be gained by having armed troops and troopers watching over NYPD officers as they conduct bag checks, unless of course she is privy to some top-secret information being kept from the public that a terrorist attack in the subway system is imminent. But even if that were the case, it would have a minimum effect on a determined terrorist.

It’s obvious that any help provided to the NYPD by outside law enforcement must include the ability to arrest violators, but the governor has made it clear that the personnel she deploys will do no such thing. If that’s true, then they are mere window dressing paid for by taxpayers from other parts of the state who have never used the subway system in their entire lives.

It is hard to believe that a highly trained New York State trooper on his or her own volition would feel comfortable following the governor’s order to ignore cries for help from a victim of crime in the subway system. 

But after seeing the NYPD being ordered to stand down during the rioting and looting of Macy’s Department store along with many others during the summer of 2020, no one should really be surprised. Cops are expected to follow orders, even bad ones.

In addition, troopers from barracks outside of New York City who are deployed into the subway system and follow their conscience to take appropriate police action when the situation arises could find themselves in hot water under the city’s inane chest-compression law, should they inadvertently compress a suspect’s diaphragm during an apprehension. 

That trooper could suddenly find himself a pawn in the power struggle between the mayor and the governor or worse, the spark that sets off another round of rioting in the city. The anarchists who make a living off of mayhem are surely getting antsy waiting for the opportunity to jump into action again.

Actual subway crime and the public’s perception of subway crime ebbs and flows. Very often, a single emotionally disturbed person or undomiciled individual sets off a rash of copycat crimes in the system that make news. For the victims of subway crime, this is their reality. 

The NYPD predictably responds by flooding the system with additional officers on overtime since there are not enough officers working the regular tours to provide 24/7 coverage in all of the city’s 472 stations. This strategy continues until the desired results are achieved or the public’s attention is diverted onto other matters. Of course, money is also another major factor. Without it, no crime fighting strategy is viable. You need boots on the ground. NYPD boots, not the boots of troops or troopers.

Ironically, there could be some situations in which the guardsmen are also New York City police officers, pulled off their regular police duties by Hochul to stand like statues in subway stations. While the officers are temporarily stripped of their police power, they too would be forbidden to help a victim of crime.

Only in New York City, where the police department is overseen by people and politicians who have little idea about the realities of policing in the five boroughs, can such convoluted situations occur. It’s little wonder the police department is having such great difficulty reaching its recruitment goals.

Bernard Whalen is a former NYPD lieutenant and co-author of “The NYPD’s First Fifty Years” and “Case Files of the NYPD.”

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  • reenjoe

    Everyone would be better off if public perception regarding crime matched actual crime statistics, all crime statistics. Crime is DOWN and dropping and has been for decades. Sadly, it has become a political talking point, primarily by Republicans. The GOP harps upon "crime ridden liberal cities" while GOP-led states suffer the highest murder and gun violence rates nationally. Look at the horribly distorted campaign Lee Zelden ran against Hocul. Is it any wonder she would overact to media hype regarding subway crime?

    Wednesday, March 13 Report this