Hard economic times mean that New York City will have to reduce the size of its police force, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday.
"We cannot afford the size police force, fire department, of any of these agencies if we have a $400 million deficit," said the mayor, referring to the state budget passed Thursday that the city said failed to deliver roughly $400 million in savings that the mayor had demanded.
Shortly afterward, he said the city was on track to set a record low in murders and crime even though the city has cut the number of New York Police Department officers on the payroll by more than 5,000 since 2002.
"Just think about that. The job is not to spend as much as you can. The job is to provide the service you need and then do it as efficiently as you can," Bloomberg said.
Still, spokesman Marc LaVorgna said a few hours later, the administration does "not anticipate layoffs of uniformed officers will be necessary."
The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association police union declined to comment.
The mayor's proposed budget already calls for the closing of 20 fire companies. He has asked city agencies to suggest additional cuts of 2 to 4 percent but still hasn't detailed which ones will make it into the budget.
Bloomberg's plan also includes the removal of more than 6,000 public school teachers from the city payroll, but he said Friday that number is still being discussed.