NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Citing continued budget problems, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has delayed a class of 540 police cadets that was due to start this month.
The NYPD's headcount now is over 34,000, about 6,000 fewer than at its peak staffing in 2000.
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Police union president Patrick Lynch called the move a bad decision that would compromise public safety and put officers at risk.
"By not hiring police officers by the end of this year we'll be down 7,000 New York City police officers," Lynch told 1010 WINS. "Those are the police officers that should be standing on your street corner or driving the radio cars around your neighborhood. The economic engine of this city is run by people feeling safe."
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Lynch said that in order to keep up with crime you need the proper staffing levels.
"Even if they started hiring now, it takes six months in the academy and a full year before you have a fully trained New York City police officer is standing on the street corner," Lynch said. "We can not wait until crime flips away from us."
He said if the city has even one dollar left to spend it should be used on safety and policing.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn blasted the move.
"We will have fewer police officers out there working night and day to protect New Yorkers," Quinn said. "It means the police officers who are out there are going to have to work harder and take on more -- that is simply too much to ask of a police department that is already stretched very, very thin."
She said it was made without consulting the council.
Mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser said the administration was only moving the April class to July, when 900 recruits are expected to be hired. He said the two classes would be combined.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said "we'll continue to fight crime with what we have."
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