May 14, 2018
Good morning everyone. Thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Mayor's Executive Budget for the 2019 Fiscal Year. It is a pleasure, again, to be here and to testify before you about the outstanding work the men and women of the New York City Police Department have been doing – and continue to do – each day and night. And this week, in particular – National Police Week – I ask that you please keep in your thoughts all of our country's police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., already contains more than 21,000 names of officers who died in the line of duty. This year, they will be joined by the names of NYPD Detectives Miosotis Familia and Steven McDonald, Sergeant Donald Conniff, and two dozen other NYPD heroes who succumbed to various September 11th-related illnesses. From police officer to chief, these lives represent the nation's largest and greatest police department, as well as the very real risks that cops face every time their put on their uniforms and venture out onto the streets in the name of protecting New Yorkers.
Before I present the key budget highlights, I want to update you on our core crime-fighting mission and the status of several important public safety initiatives. I will try to be as brief as I can, so we may get to as many of your questions as possible.
In my last appearance before the Council, at the Preliminary Budget Hearing in March, I reported on the consistent, focused efforts of our police officers to foster even stronger relationships with the people who live in, work in, and visit New York City. Building trust and earning the full and willing support of the people we serve is essential to properly safeguarding New York City, because it will help us drive crime and disorder down beyond the record-low levels we have already achieved. And all of this strengthens the fundamental notion that public safety is a shared responsibility. New York policing today means applying a crime-fighting philosophy that keeps New Yorkers safe, and ensures that they feel safe, too – which are two separate, distinct, and equally-important ideals. The bottom line is: The people we serve know that each of us has a stake in keeping all of us safe. And I'm pleased to inform you that this exceptional work is rapidly expanding and paying fantastic dividends as we near the halfway point of the year.
Preliminarily as of this morning, overall crime is down citywide by 3.5 percent from last year (32,027 vs. 33,188). Homicides are up 4.3 percent (98 vs. 94); robberies are down 8.1 percent (4,341 vs. 4,724); felony assaults are down by 0.5 percent (6,794 vs. 6,831); burglaries are down 7.3 percent (3,949 vs. 4,261); grand larcenies are down 3.8 percent (14,462 vs. 15,040); and auto theft – or grand larceny auto – is down 0.9 percent (1,748 vs. 1,763). The largest outlier, as we have detailed at our monthly crime press conferences, is the rape category – which is up by 33.7 percent (635 vs. 475). The increase in reporting of sexual offenses – which the NYPD fully encourages – is further sustained by the current national discussion on the topic, as well as our various outreach initiatives that are done in collaboration with our advocate partners. Similarly, we have seen a substantial increase in the number of reported rapes that occurred prior to 2018.
Shooting incidents – another major indicator of our effectiveness – are down another 4.7 percent over last year (222 vs. 233). We continue to make massive inroads into gangs and crews by focusing precisely on the relatively small percentage of people who are responsible for the vast majority of violent crime. You will recall that at the end of 2016, our city marked 998 shootings. At that time, it was the lowest number of shootings ever recorded in New York City – and the first time that figure had ever dropped below 1,100. Then, at the end of 2017, our city marked 790 shooting incidents. When one looks back to 1990, when New York experienced more than 5,000 shootings and more than 2,200 murders a year – I do not think it is possible to overstate how remarkable our progress has been. Your NYPD, in 2018, is continuing to remove illegal guns from this city at a tremendous rate. The way we look at it: Every illegal firearm we are able to take off the streets represents at least one life saved and a family kept intact.
And at the same time that shootings and other violent crimes are being reduced year after year, NYPD police officers are also making thousands of fewer street stops, issuing thousands of fewer summonses, and making many, many fewer arrests. Meanwhile, we continue to lobby heavily against proposed legislation in Washington, D.C., that would undoubtedly bring more guns into New York. The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in December. The Senate version is still in the Judiciary Committee awaiting a hearing date. What it would do, if passed and signed into law by the President, is force all states to recognize concealed-carry weapon permits from other states, regardless of how lax those state permitting laws may be. In fact, some states do not require gun owners to take any special training or to obtain a license or permit before carrying a concealed weapon. That – in my opinion, and the opinion of many police leaders in our country – is absolute insanity. That lowest-common denominator approach to gun safety would become the law of the land. It would effectively eviscerate state and city laws meant to keep people safe from gun violence – and it threatens to undo much of the incredible success we have achieved here in New York City.
Just after the stroke of midnight this past New Year's Day, we found ourselves truly in uncharted territory. The crime reductions New York City achieved in 2017 were categorically historic: The lowest per-capita murder rate in nearly 70 years; the fewest shootings ever recorded in the modern era; most major crimes down to levels we have not seen since the 1950s. Simply put: The city has not been this safe for three generations. And, let me tell you, there were those who believed we would never be this safe. They assumed that more than 2,200 murders a year was just the price of doing business in New York City – that it was normal, and that nothing could be done about it. There were others, however, who refused to believe that – who refused to accept that life in our city could not change for the better. Chief among these idealists were the hardworking men and women of the NYPD. But we are realists, too. We knew that reversing the decades-long trend of rising crime and violence would take time, and we knew that it would not be a solo effort. We understood that reclaiming our neighborhoods required the coordinated efforts of the entire police department, in full partnership with all the people we serve.
That is why in 2018, we are redoubling our efforts to complete the NYPD's full conversion to Neighborhood Policing. To date, 63 of our 77 Patrol precincts are Neighborhood Policing commands, plus all nine of our Housing Bureau police service areas. And this year, we will finish up the precincts and expand into all 12 of our Transit Districts by the beginning of 2019. In April, we debuted this crime-fighting strategy with Transit District 12 in the Bronx, which covers the 2, 5, and 6 subway lines; and Transit District 30 in Brooklyn, which covers stations along the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, B, D, Q, F, G, and R lines. I strongly encourage all New Yorkers – especially regular riders – to reach out to their Neighborhood Coordination Officers in the transit system – at nyc.gov/nypd/transit.
Some might wonder how we apply the principles of Neighborhood Policing down in the subway system. I can tell you this, as an old Transit cop who rode the A and D trains alone, three round-trips a night, from eight at night until four in the morning back in 1983 – the same people use the same subway lines every day to get to and from work, to visit their friends and families, and to explore this great city. And even with a ridership of about six million passengers per weekday, it is not unreasonable to believe that individual police officers can form bonds and build trust with many of those train riders. We are not going to meet everyone, of course – just as we will not meet everyone up on the streets – but we have an obligation to try to foster those relationships and to effect change. It can all begin with a simple smile and a "good morning." And, as NYPD cops go about their daily business of protecting New Yorkers – wherever it may be in the five boroughs – we are seeking to build that trust.
We are now connecting in local neighborhoods in ways that simply were not possible before. And we have found that these partnerships speed and sharpen our entire investigative process. Information flows from neighborhood residents, to teams of sector cops, to precinct detectives, and to specialty squads like Gang and Narcotics. Over the last three years, the relationships we have built with the public are leading to valuable information that becomes integral to the investigations we conduct. Our method of crime-fighting focuses now on the real drivers of crime. This means listening to New Yorkers and angling our investigative resources toward the small percentage of our city's population responsible for most of the violence. Our laser-like focus on these specific individuals is further sharpened by the coordinated efforts of our patrol cops, detectives, and all of our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. In no small way, we are able to do what we do so well because of those relationships. Through a number of joint task forces and other coordinated efforts, we routinely work seamlessly with the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the U.S. Marshals Service, the New York State Police and others to combat crime in ways that could not previously be conceived, even as recently as five years ago. Now, these partnerships are truly stronger and vastly more effective than I have ever seen them in my thirty-five-and-a-half years in law enforcement. And as we conduct short, medium, and long-term investigations, we remain in lockstep with our five district attorneys in New York City, the citywide Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York at the federal level. We track everything from bank robberies and other so-called traditional crime, to the evolving and ever-present threat of international terrorism. With our partners' assistance, many of these criminals are pre-indicted before we even knock on their doors to bring them in. Another enormous benefit of this level of collaboration is that we see these cases all the way through to convictions, and appropriate, meaningful prison sentences. And this interagency cooperation is proving effective for all levels of crime.
This is far from a victory speech, however, because there remains much work to be done. The reality is that achieving further declines in crime could become increasingly difficult with each passing year. But we are optimists at the NYPD, and we view this as both a challenge and an opportunity.
Let me address, for example, concerns about crime in our subway system – where, overall this year, crime is down 8.7 percent (817 vs. 895). Felony assaults are flat (122 vs. 122); and grand larcenies – which spans purse- or headphones-snatching, to removing a bag from the shoulder of a sleeping passenger or items from a rider's pocket without the use of force – have decreased 14.4 percent (527 vs. 616). Robberies, however, have increased by 12.2 percent this year (165 vs. 147). The number of robbery arrests is also up, year-to-date, and I can tell you that about 40 percent of those arrested for robbery in the Transit system this year also have a history of theft of service – commonly referred to as turnstile-jumping. To combat the uptick in robbery incidents, members of our Transit Bureau have been conducting extensive crime prevention outreach, and we have placed even more of our personnel on train cars – where about half of these crimes occur. And we continue to advise riders – particularly in the overnight hours – about the steps they can take to keep themselves and their property safe, including staying awake and alert to their surroundings. Further, we continue to maintain safety and order in the subway system by enforcing quality-of-life violations that, if left unchecked, will breed more serious crimes. I know, firsthand – having been a precinct commander for six-and-a-half years – that I would not have remained a precinct commander for very long if I had failed to address those community complaints. The people we serve want and expect us to keep answering their concerns, and we do so with the knowledge that many issues – in the subway system, as in our neighborhoods – can be resolved in many ways that do not always involve summary enforcement action. When enforcement is necessary, our officers know they have options available to them in the form of discretion and the issuance of civil summonses in lieu of criminal summonses for some low-level crimes. I can tell you that about 75 percent of people stopped for theft of service in the subway are issued a summons and sent on their way. About 25 percent are arrested, for various reasons that do not permit a summons to be written on-scene. Of those arrestees, about 10 percent are issued Desk Appearance Tickets and are released from the police station house.
Below ground, as well as above, in every community in New York City, our stated purpose is to relentlessly continue our work fighting crime and keeping people safe through our Neighborhood Policing philosophy. And, it is always our mission to evolve and improve. We are very confident we will do just that, in full partnership with the public we serve.
While the possession and discrete use of marijuana continues to become more socially tolerable and, in some cases, legal across our nation – the public smoking of marijuana has not. Even in states in which possession has been legalized, public smoking of marijuana – just like public consumption of alcohol – remains a violation of the law and, depending on the jurisdiction, can result in fines or imprisonment. Here in New York, as you know, recreational use and open possession of marijuana is still against the law. NYPD officers have been instructed to issue summonses to those who merely possess marijuana in public, which has helped reduce the number of arrests by 38 percent since 2013. Smoking of marijuana, however, is a quality-of-life condition that New Yorkers call 911 and 311 about with increasing frequency. In addition to those community concerns lodged by telephone or by 311 online, innumerable complaints are also received through conversations with residents, workers, and owners of local businesses, who express concerns about groups of people openly smoking marijuana in front of their stores and homes, and in stairwells of buildings. Still more complaints are culled in the five boroughs at various community meetings, a great many of which I regularly attend. New Yorkers clearly feel this behavior reduces their quality of life. In areas of our city in which marijuana enforcement appears to be disproportionate to complaints received, we are working to understand the reasons for that activity and reviewing whether they are the result of local complaints, larger numbers of officers patrolling given areas, or other reasons. I steadfastly reject the idea that these arrests are racially motivated. I do recognize that a disparity exists, and I know that these types of arrests affect certain racial groups more than others. In recognizing this disproportionality in all arrests, the NYPD has taken significant steps to further reduce arrests. In the last four years, we have reduced the total number of arrests citywide by more than 150,000. In the case of smoking marijuana in public, we have evaluated our data and NYPD executive staff members know they must ensure that arrests conform to the mission and vision of this police department – that the enforcement will enhance quality of life or bring about disorder- or crime-control. We must consider previous complaints made at a particular location, or about a particular person. Further, during our weekly CompStat meetings, commanders may be called to explain their officers' arrests, especially when someone's first arrest is for a low-level marijuana offense. As we move forward, I believe the NYPD's proactive steps will help balance the reduction in arrests with maintaining the quality of life of every New Yorker.
In sharing the responsibility for public safety, we are scheduled to launch, within a month, the Behavioral Health Diversion Program in all four precincts on Staten Island. It is designed to improve access to community-based behavioral-health treatment, and reduce demands on the police and emergency medical services. Calls to 911 involving non-violent emotionally-disturbed people will be diverted from a conventional NYPD/EMS response to NYC Well, the city's crisis intervention and referral service. The service offers free confidential support, crisis intervention, and information and referral services for anyone seeking help for mental health or substance abuse concerns. Anyone with behavioral health concerns who is determined to be at imminent risk of danger to themselves or others will continue to receive a direct NYPD/EMS response. Last year, the NYPD responded to nearly 169,000 calls about emotionally-disturbed people. So far in 2018, our officers have responded to about 40,000 such calls. Our department-wide crisis-intervention training, which began in June 2015, is ongoing. Since it began, more than 9,200 police officers have received this valuable training – nearly 100 officers a week. Every patrol lieutenant has taken the four-day course, and all sergeants will receive the training by September.
As I stated back in March, we continue to work toward safer streets for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists alike. The NYPD is playing a major role in Vision Zero, Mayor de Blasio's plan to eliminate traffic-related deaths entirely. As you know, we are in close partnership with the New York City Department of Transportation, sharing critical collision data and analysis. And we have partnered with DOT and the Taxi and Limousine Commission on joint traffic education and enforcement campaigns throughout the five boroughs. These efforts are yielding very positive results and, citywide, traffic fatalities are down by 12 percent this year (57 vs. 65). To counter the root causes of many of these incidents, we continue our stepped-up efforts coupling education with enforcement. With the guidance of the Mayor's Vision Zero Action Plan, I am confident we will continue to make significant progress. In 2017, in fact, New York City had the fewest traffic deaths on record, driven by a 32 percent drop in pedestrian fatalities. This marked the fourth consecutive year of declining traffic deaths.
The success of our public safety mission depends most of all on our efforts to forge even stronger relationships with all New Yorkers. This is paramount because we know that in order to drive crime down past already record-low rates, we require the insight and assistance of everyone. As I have said many times before: No one knows a block, a street, or a neighborhood better than those who live and work there every day. We need that knowledge, and we know that to gain it, we must ensure that our partnerships are built on trust. One of the ways we try to earn that trust is through transparency in our reporting. On our publicly-accessible website, the NYPD already provides several data sets that include, but are not limited to: traffic collisions, crime complaints (current and historic), and Stop, Question and Frisk interactions. Before the end of this fiscal year, the NYPD plans to expand the existing complaint records to release several additional key data sets, including: victim and suspect demographics, arrest incidents, shooting incidents, and criminal court summons occurrences. This new data will provide an unprecedented look at overall NYPD activity as we work to further our mission of keeping this city – and all who live, work, and visit here – safe.
Our city is a welcoming place, and the NYPD aims to maintain our well-earned title of "safest large city in the United States" by performing our duties with fairness, professionalism, transparency, and discretion. I know that the vast majority of our police officers carry out their vital work in this fashion. And the members of the public with whom our officers interact are all afforded the same level of respect, regardless of age, race, or immigration status. Make no mistake: We will not throw away the goodwill we have worked so hard to attain these past four-and-a-half years.
As you know, the NYPD is well into the most radical, top-to-bottom, operational change we have experienced since the advent of CompStat in the 1990s. Our Neighborhood Policing philosophy is just that: the principle by which we are guided as we go about all of our daily work – the business of fighting crime and keeping people safe. Neighborhood Policing is a doctrine, not a program we have been testing out with small groups of officers in select precincts. It is, in fact, a complete paradigm shift in the way the entire NYPD conducts everything it does. And importantly, no one asked us to do it – we saw a need to evolve and to make our way forward. It was necessary to propel the NYPD and New York City, as a whole, into the future of American policing. And it is happening. New York City is leading the way.
We have restructured our department at every level; redrawn the small sectors that police officers patrol so they now follow natural neighborhoods instead of arbitrarily-chosen blocks of space; dedicated teams of sector officers who work the same neighborhoods every day on the same tours, so those we serve can actually get to know them, and vice-versa; and added the role of Neighborhood Coordination Officer to our commands so that two NCOs in each area can act as conduits between the steady sector cops and the people they serve.
Most importantly, we have finally given our police officers the time and the resources to accomplish the things we have long asked them to do. Specifically, our steady sector cops now have a third of their work days away from the constant stream of 911 jobs dispatched over their radios so they can leave their vehicles, visit workers in stores and residents in their homes, and interact with kids on the streets and in our playgrounds. Additional officers are assigned to what we call "response autos" to cover the 911 and 311 calls while all of this is happening. The result is that our cops are working more closely with community members to identify problems specific to their neighborhoods, to develop intelligence about crimes, and to lead problem-solving and crime-fighting efforts. All of this is now the rule, rather than the exception. This is how we are earning trust. Everything we do now is geared toward fostering productive ties to the people in all of our neighborhoods while also reducing crime and keeping people safe. And Neighborhood Policing is inherently proactive, and not only with respect to making connections with those who live and work in every corner of New York City; it also strengthens our efforts to investigate crime, catch criminals, and prevent crimes before they occur.
As I have said before: Neighborhood Policing is not a program, it is not an initiative, and it is not just a few cops in some parts of the city trying to be nicer to people. It is a new way of doing business that is reshaping our approach to fulfilling our core mission – not only in an operational sense, but in the spirit and practice of every aspect of the work we do. Neighborhood Policing reflects a cultural change for our entire agency – for every NYPD employee, uniformed and civilian; for every bureau, division, and unit – and for everyone who lives in, works in, and enjoys New York City. It is about each of us sharing responsibility for public safety by working to reduce violence together – all while building trust. And what we have learned in the NYPD is that if we want everyone who lives in our communities to trust and respect our police officers, all of us in leadership roles – from the Police Commissioner's Office on down to the front-line supervisors on the street – also have to trust and respect our police officers. We want our cops to know that we trust them – without reservation – to inform the public, to problem-solve, and to cultivate new and innovate ways of fighting crime and disorder. If we want the public to trust us, we first need to show everyone we trust our police officers. We want, and need, them to take responsibility for, and great pride in, the people and the areas of New York City they protect. And we need to treat everyone we serve equally and fairly. In short, New York policing is a game-changer for our entire profession.
Meanwhile, a new website – BuildTheBlock.NYC – continues to expand and allows anyone in New York City to see who their Neighborhood Coordination Officers are, and when and where their small, police officer-led sector meetings will be held. We are asking the public to go to that website, to find their meetings, and to engage with us. The site supplies detailed information for the commands already operating under Neighborhood Policing.
I want to point out that throughout this tremendous evolution in the NYPD, we have had Mayor de Blasio's full support. And we have benefited from the City Council's support, as well. Thank you for your ongoing partnership and assistance, and for everything you do to help us build a better and stronger police department. Most notably, the Council and the Mayor authorized the first headcount expansion the NYPD had seen in a dozen years. With the hiring of new police officers and a strong push toward civilianization, we essentially added 2,000 officers to patrol. We used them to create our counterterrorism Critical Response Command, to repurpose our former Task Force as a new-and-improved disorder- and crime-control unit called the Strategic Response Group, and to bolster our Patrol precincts and Housing police service areas as we prepared to introduce Neighborhood Policing citywide.
We know that our successes do not happen by accident. They are all a direct result of the dedication of our cops, the skill and creativity of our commanders, the leadership of our executive staff, and the unrivaled assistance from the public we serve. And, as I told you in March, our successes are also a result of the commitment to public safety by this Administration, and by you. As we look around our nation at crime trending upward in other major cities, we can all see that New York City is indeed an exception.
Citywide, we will continue to leverage every tool available to us to keep the city safe, including the use of new and innovative technology. Twenty-four years ago, CompStat revolutionized crime-fighting by leveraging the power of data. We still rely on CompStat today as the tip of the spear driving our precise investigatory efforts – to ensure rapid and relentless follow-up on crime conditions and accountability. But we are also keenly focused on technological advances, and how they can be applied to fighting crime, as well as creating safer and more-efficient ways for police officers to do the job of keeping all New Yorkers safe. We do all of this with the understanding that it is absolutely imperative to maintain the NYPD's position at the forefront of American policing, while contributing to the important work of building trust. As such, our footprint in social media continues to expand. In order to share timely and important information directly with the public, the NYPD currently operates 128 Twitter accounts with more than one million total followers. We have one Twitter account for every precinct, Police Service Area, and many chiefs and specialty units. We also maintain 58 separate Facebook accounts, including 55 for Neighborhood Policing commands, one for the Recruitment Section, and one for the Cadet Corps. Additionally, we run three Instagram accounts and one Snapchat account, plus an external NYPD website, a blog at NYPDNews.com, and our own YouTube channel. Our goal, of course, is to further engage with all New Yorkers while illustrating how Neighborhood Policing touches everything we do.
At the end of 2014, we launched a voluntary mini-pilot program for body-worn cameras. At that time, we picked a half-dozen commands and had nearly 60 patrol cops test them out for just over a year. The testing informed us about this emerging technology and put us in a great position to start the arduous procurement process. That process included an evaluation of each potential vendor's technology, their ability to provide the NYPD with a comprehensive body-worn camera system, on-site demonstrations, and competitive pricing proposals. After weighing proposals from 28 different body-camera vendors, we selected one. And, in 2017, we launched a larger pilot program – which was much more extensive than was required by the court – and equipped officers in 20 precincts with the cameras. In December, we expanded the roll-out beyond the pilot to include every precinct, Housing police service area, and transit district – on all shifts. As a department, we have been eager to move forward on this. As of today, officers in 47 commands have been issued cameras – approximately 7,000 cameras, so far. By the end of this year, every NYPD officer on patrol – about 21,000 cops – will be outfitted with a body-worn camera, a full year earlier than we originally planned. Further, the manufacturer of our body-worn cameras, Vievu LLC, will be purchased by Axon Enterprise Inc., the police-technology company best known for its Taser stun guns. These two largest providers of the recording devices will create a dominant force in the market – and Axon has agreed to honor our contract and maintain our speedy schedule for deployment.
Police officers wearing body cameras in the United States is a necessary step, one that I truly believe will benefit everyone in our city – cop and civilian alike. This is the evolution of policing. And we must embrace it; if we are not evolving, we are not moving forward as a police department, as a city, or as a nation.
As you already know, all of our officers have department-issued smartphones, putting police databases in the palms of their hands. A new performance evaluation system is up and running on those phones that allows self-reporting, so officers can record the deeds and interactions that make up their work days. The Cop Rapid Assessment Feedback Tool, or CRAFT, allows supervisors in the field to make notations about individual officers who may not even be under their direct command. The system also makes possible quarterly evaluations, and supervisors conduct monthly assessments of officers' work using multiple data sources, to ensure that police officers – and precincts, PSAs and transit districts, on a wider scale – are performing at their full potentials. And we are working toward developing a revolutionary Neighborhood Policing application that will allow quality-of-life concerns to be more-easily shared with the NYPD, and for those tasks to be managed and discussed by the groups of officers responsible for specific areas of the city.
Turning to budgetary issues, as discussed in March, we have already started planning for the Federal Fiscal Year 2018 Homeland Security preparedness grants, although the applications guidelines have not yet been released. This federal assistance allows the NYPD to purchase personal protective equipment for uniformed members of the service, and enhances our ability to protect New Yorkers and critical transportation and infrastructure, including the Financial District, the transit system, bridges, tunnels, and ports. The timing of the Federal Fiscal Year 2018 appropriation will significantly compress the timeframe to announce and award these grants by September 30, 2018. Consequently, grant applicants will have a much shorter application period than in recent years, and potentially as short as several weeks. The NYPD relies on these funds to help protect all New Yorkers and visitors to our city against terrorist attacks, and to strengthen our homeland security preparedness. New York City, since the devastating 9/11 attacks, has been the target of 28 terror plots. These plots have included a suicide-bomber in a subway passageway beneath Times Square, the fatal truck attack on pedestrians and bicyclists along the West Side Highway, plans to place bombs among the festive crowds watching the July 4th fireworks over the East River, and an ISIS plot to behead a woman in Manhattan and to capture it on video. The federal Homeland Security funds buy us a lot, including our Bomb Squad's Total Containment Vessel – the rolling vault that allowed the NYPD to remove the live pressure-cooker bomb planted on a street in Chelsea. The money also funds our Vapor Wake Dogs that patrol large-scale events searching for hidden explosives, and our active-shooter training that hones the tactical skills of thousands of officers who might have to face an automatic weapon-wielding attacker in a crowded concert venue or a school. Federal funds have also allowed the NYPD to develop and sustain our sensor and information technology centerpiece known as the Domain Awareness System, or DAS, which supports the department's counterterrorism mission; to hire Intelligence Research Specialists, to deploy officers to the transit system and other strategic locations citywide based on intelligence; and to train officers to respond to chemical, ordnance, biological and radiological threats or incidents, as well as active-shooter scenarios.
Regarding the Executive Budget and its impact on the NYPD: The NYPD's Fiscal Year 2019 City Tax Levy Expense Budget is $5.2 billion. The vast majority of this, 92 percent, is allocated for personnel costs. The police department's Capital Commitment Plan contains $1.97 billion for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2022. As of early May, the department has committed $294 million in fiscal year 2018, 44 percent more than last fiscal year ($204 million), and the highest amount in the last eight years.
As part of this year's commitments, the construction contract for the new 40th Precinct station house in the Bronx was registered in April for a total of $57.7 million. The existing station house, built in 1924, is in very poor condition and cannot be rehabilitated. It is important to note, as well, that this will be our first precinct that incorporates community space in which residents and workers from all neighborhoods can engage directly with the police officers who serve them.
We have also commenced work at the Times Square substation. In order to meet current policing needs and to further enhance the presence of the NYPD in this prominent location, the current substation will be completely renovated and will ultimately provide public access to interactive computer kiosks, NYPD displays, and – most importantly – face-to-face interaction with police officers around the clock, every day of the year.
It is not just about traditional crime anymore. Each of our partners is also a critical ally in countering the ever-changing and perpetual threat of terrorism here in New York City – our nation's principal target. And that important work continues around the clock – for vigilant New Yorkers and for the NYPD, alike. Our Critical Response Command works 24 hours a day protecting sites and infrastructure around the city. Cops in our Strategic Response Group are at the ready to rapidly respond to any emerging threat, be it an active-shooter situation or other terror incident. Along with our Emergency Service Unit cops, they are all informed by our first-rate Intelligence Bureau – which continues to be the industry-leader in detecting, deciphering, and responding to a very-fluid threat stream.
Building trust with the people we serve; fighting traditional crime; combating international terrorism – none of this is easy. But cops do not take these jobs because they are easy. People join the police department to make a difference, to do good – and NYPD cops accomplish that every single day. And they are doing it in newer, and better ways every day, both inside and outside our department. Our new Equal Employment Opportunity Division is located within our new Office of Equity and Inclusion – both of which assist in addressing disparities and push forward our efforts to always provide a safe and harassment-free work environment. By maintaining such a climate, the NYPD is able to direct its energy toward our two most important goals: Members of every community should feel they are understood by their police, and know they are treated fairly. When we have achieved that, we will have achieved real trust. And we need civilians to view cops through a lens of trust. Because, frankly, we need their support. Community engagement has always been key to crime-fighting. But, over the years, that fact was somewhat lost. There is no better time than now to rectify the situation. And I think we are well on our way.
We continue to make sure our workforce reflects the communities we serve. We are a majority-minority police department, and we constantly work toward furthering diversity and inclusiveness at every rank. Members of the NYPD are now policing with the people of New York, rather than just for them. The relationships we are fostering with New Yorkers allow us to tailor our crime-reduction and -prevention strategies to individual neighborhoods – and that makes all the difference. Couple that with enhanced training, upgraded equipment, and the newest technology, and you can see how the best cops in the nation are able to constantly improve, year after year.
We know policing is a profession that must change with the times. And when it comes to New York policing, we must always innovate and evolve. We now have almost all of our detectives reporting through the same chain of command. This Unified Investigations Model encompasses traditional precinct detective squad work, plus Narcotics, Vice, Warrants, our Gun Violence Suppression Division, and much more. It is those detectives, along with our Field Intelligence Officers and our Neighborhood Coordination Officers, who are honing in on the most-troubled locations in the city. Soon, every police officer will be working closely, in some way, with community members to identify problems specific to their neighborhoods, to develop intelligence about crimes, and to lead problem-solving and crime-fighting efforts. This is how trust is earned. This is how lasting, productive community ties are built. And when we sometimes fall short, we need to quickly, decisively, and transparently correct the issue.
In closing, I can tell you: This city is in much better shape today than it was when I became a cop in 1983. Those of you who lived and worked here 25 or 35 years ago know it, too: This is not the same city it was in the 1980s and 1990s. And each year, we are making even more headway. But we need everyone's help, everybody's effort, if we are going to increase those gains. Together, we are proving that New York City is the place that others across the nation want to emulate. As we redefine the role of NYPD police officer and, in essence, redefine what it means to be an engaged member of our society, we all have a unique opportunity, right now, to set the tone for the rest of the United States. Perhaps the most important reason for our city's turnaround on crime is our collective understanding that public safety is the foundation of everything we do. Here in New York City, we are proving that when the public and the police work together, we can make positive, lasting change in our society. That change begins when people are safe. And it is sustained when they feel safe, too.
I am extremely optimistic about the future of the NYPD and the direction we are heading. As the remarkable decrease in crime so far this year shows, we can police the city effectively without intruding unnecessarily or excessively into the lives of its residents, businesses, or visitors. I believe the same is true of our mission to defend New York City from another terrorist attack. In my experience, there is a direct correlation between the level of public support for the police and our success in fighting crime and terror.
We will continue to work tirelessly to earn, and keep, the trust and confidence of all New Yorkers, and to ensure that there are even better days ahead. And we will do so in a way that always optimizes police officer safety. This is all part of policing in 2018, and no police department in the nation has been more successful in recent decades than the NYPD. In fact, in terms of technology, training, and tools, the NYPD has seen more positive change over the past four-and-a-half years than it has seen in a whole generation. We fully expect this trend to continue, and we are so grateful to be moving ahead with the critical support of the Mayor and the City Council. The police do not underestimate the change even one person in our city can effect, and neither should the public. Everything we do is geared toward embracing our differences and celebrating all of our common traits. And I look forward to working with each of you as we make our way forward, together.
Thank you again for this opportunity to testify today. At this point, I am happy to take your questions.