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NYPD Commissioner William Bratton tells state senators he needs more cops for security challenges

Police Commissioner William Bratton displays the new vests

Police Commissioner William Bratton displays the new vests to be worn by officers during a public hearing on police safety and public protection, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Louis Lanzano

The NYPD doesn't have enough cops and Commissioner William Bratton indicated Wednesday he is getting ready to ask City Hall to add more officers to the nearly 35,000 already in the ranks.

Bratton wouldn't say how many more cops are needed but hinted that it could be at least several hundred more to take care of the increased responsibilities heaped on the department after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

"There is not enough, to be quite frank with you," Bratton told a group of state senators during a hearing on police safety and public protection when asked the current level of officers on the street. The Manhattan hearing was prompted by the December killings of officers Wenjein Liu and Rafael Ramos.

Bratton stressed that since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the NYPD has lost more than 6,000 officers while the department took on an aggressive counterterrorism program, saw an increase in 911 calls by 1 million and needed to respond to the 311 nonemergency system.

Since taking over as commissioner in January 2014, Bratton has made no secret that he wants more cops. But yesterday's reference to additional officers comes as Mayor Bill de Blasio nears finishing his 2016 budget.

For months, Bratton and his staff have been plotting a "re-engineering" of the NYPD that will come up with a number of officers needed to do the job.

"Before I go hat in hand, I have to be in a position to justify [more officers], and I think we are in that position," Bratton told the senators.

Bratton said he will need 350 officers for a new quick-reaction counterterror force and to staff an expanded training program. An NYPD source said any additional cops will have to replace those switched to counterterrorism and other programs without depleting precinct levels.

In his prepared testimony, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch also advocated for increased NYPD staffing. Lynch pressed for state legislation to raise police staffing to 1999 levels, about 41,791 officers, which he believed could be funded with a tax devoted to public safety.

"If staffing is not increased, some of the public's calls for help will go unanswered," Lynch said.

Bratton also called for funding weapons, specifically long-guns, to help deal with a Mumbai-style attack, where terrorists killed 170 people in coordinated attacks in 2006 at hotels and restaurants in the Indian city. He said he'd like protective, ballistic panels put in the doors of police cars instead of spending up to $50,000 per vehicle to put bulletproof glass in the cars, which he said wouldn't comply with highway safety standards.

Bratton acknowledged that cop morale was hurt by recent anti-police demonstrations and what he said were "demands to kill police." Those "anti-police sentiments" led to the killings of Liu and Ramos, said Bratton.

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