Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Criticizes NYC Mayor for Police Raise
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has recently come under fire from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for increasing the wages of NYC police officers by 28%. During an interview with Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper, the congresswoman criticized the move of attempting to further fund the NYC police force, stating that funds could have been better used for violence prevention outside of the police department.
Klepper would go on to ask, “We are in New York City, and you’re talking about funding violence prevention outside of the police, and yet Eric Adams has just increased police wages by 28%. Is that misplaced?”
“I think so,” Ocasio-Cortez said, adding, “We are now at a point where officially, most officers are paid more than a teacher with a master’s degree serving these same kids involved in these same incidents.”
Violence Prevention Program
Ocasio-Cortez recently visited the Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx, where she discussed the “Stand Up to Violence” program. The program focuses on investigating shootings with social workers instead of police. CBS describes the program as involving “a physician and social worker working with victims of violence inside the hospital and an outreach coordinator on the streets.”
Police in New York City has not had a new contract since 2017, and as such, the city’s new, eight-year contract with the police union will be applied retroactively. The cost of the agreement is $5.5 billion through 2025. The Police Benevolent Association’s deal with the government secured its members the applicable back pay, a 3.5% raise in August 2022, and a 4% raise in 2024. The union, consisting of 23,000 members, also agreed on terms that will see annual salaries for rookie cops increase from $42,000 to $55,000. Ocasio-Cortez would go on to add:
“I think so. We are now at a point where officially, most officers are paid more than a teacher with a master’s degree serving these same kids involved in these same incidents.”
“We are defunding safety, defunding our public schools, defunding our public pools, defending our parks, [and] defunding our libraries. When we are taking all of those resources and demanding that every single department – except the militarized one – be cut, we are sending a message about who and what we care about.”
Misuse of Funds
Ocasio-Cortez criticized the move, stating that while other public sectors have faced cuts, the NYPD will receive a pay raise. She pointed out that the funds could have been better used for safety, public schools, public pools, parks, and libraries, rather than providing a pay raise for the police. She believes that such a move sends a message about who and what society values, and that the militarization of the police force is not the answer to solving problems related to violence and safety.
However, the overall crime rate in New York City rose by 22% in 2022 as compared to the preceding year, and allocating more funds to enhance the police force is an imperative step toward improving the state of the city.