Yonkers police fight budget cuts

April 9, 2010 5:04:16 PM PDT
Police officers in Yonkers are fighting back against severe budget cuts in their department.

They claim crime in the downtown area is now up significantly because of the cutbacks.

It's a small police force, that's gotten smaller over the years. New York's fourth largest city is policed by just 600 cops, so the Yonkers PBA is trying to fight budget cuts any way it can.

A protest was held in the heart of downtown on Thursday. The organization has also launched a Facebook page with a not so subtle title: Yonkers isn't safe.

"It was born out of frustration. It's always been out belief that the average citizen in Yonkers has no idea the amount of crime that happens here," Det. Keith Olson explained.

Over 14-hundred people have fanned the page that's a modern day police blotter. Major crimes are listed almost immediately after they occur. Union members say they're careful not to post anything that could compromise an investigation. They also realize it could cast their own department in a negative light.

The mayor of Yonkers points out overall crime is down this year, but admits that could change. The cash-strapped city is facing a 40-million dollar reduction in state aid next year. More cuts are likely.

"If we don't have 30 or 40 or 50 police officers who were there before, it's going to affect our ability to get to crime. We're going to concentrate them where we know the highest crime is," Mayor Phil Amicone said.

The police commissioner says he's aware of the Facebook page, but doesn't believe it violates any departmental policy since it likely falls under the realm of free speech.