Former NYPD commissioner: ‘Money is not the answer to the immediate problem’ plaguing police departments

Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Sunday that “money is not the answer to the immediate problem” plaguing police departments across the country and stressed that the focus should be focused on improving morale.

Kelly made the point on “Fox News Live” in reaction to statements made by President Biden at an event at the New York Police Department on Thursday. At the event, the president said “the answer is not to defund the police” but rather to provide the tools and funding for law enforcement officials to be “partners” and “protectors” in the community.

President and Attorney General Merrick Garland met with fellow Democrats New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul at NYPD headquarters on Thursday to discuss ways in which officials of the Federal, state and local law enforcement can work together to quickly remove shooters from the streets. and combat armed violence.

The president’s trip to New York on Thursday came after thousands of uniformed police from across the country traveled to Manhattan to pay their respects to fallen NYPD detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who were shot and killed while they were responding to a domestic violence call. month.

“The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to give you the tools, the training, the funding to be partners, to be protectors,” Biden said Thursday.

“We want to fund and provide the additional services you need beyond someone with a gun strapped to their shoulder,” the president added. “We need more social workers, mental health workers. We need more people who when you’re called to these scenes and someone’s about to jump off a roof, that isn’t just someone who stands tall with a gun – he’s also someone who knows how to talk to people, talk low to them.”

Kelly argued Sunday that cities are “flooded with money now” thanks to “COVID funding” and that police departments “don’t need more money.”

“I think one of the issues is that a lot of cops voted with their feet,” the former police commissioner continued.

Violent crime is skyrocketing across the country and law enforcement is retiring en masse, following a trend seen after violent protests in June 2020.

Kelly pointed to mass retirements and resignations and noted that departments “are struggling to hire [and] recruitment.”

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“It’s not about the money, it’s about the morale, about the restraints and restrictions that were put on the cops after the murder of George Floyd,” Kelly continued.

Floyd, a black man, died in May 2020 after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck. Chauvin was convicted of third degree murder, second degree manslaughter, and second degree manslaughter; he and three other officers were fired from the force after a video of Floyd’s death emerged.

Floyd’s death has sparked protests and at times violent demonstrations in cities across the country, as well as calls to cut police budgets amid law enforcement reform.

On Thursday morning, the Biden administration rolled out a strategy to stop the flow of guns, strengthen law enforcement and increase funding for community policing, which Biden elaborated on during his remarks at NYPD headquarters.

Senior administration officials said the strategy builds on measures announced by the president in June 2021, which aimed to stem the flow of firearms being used to commit violence; supporting local law enforcement with federal tools and resources to fight violent crime; investing in evidence-based community violence interventions, expanded summer programs, employment opportunities, and other services and supports for adolescents and young adults; and helping formerly incarcerated people “successfully reintegrate into their community.”

On Sunday, Kelly argued that police officers, captains and precinct commanders are “always communicating with the community.”

He acknowledged that there was still some “wariness” and noted that “it’s something you have to work on every day, but it actually happens every day”.

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Kelly stressed that the police must “keep working on it” because “it’s not going to change overnight”.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Brie Stimon contributed to this report.