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A bill before the City Council that would bar NYPD cops from conducting outreach to the homeless is “insulting” to police, Commissioner Dermot Shea said Thursday.
Shea, speaking during a virtual sit-down with The Post’s editorial board, delivered the assessment of the bill that would even prohibit workers from other city agencies from having the Finest tag along on their outreach missions.
“We’re gonna pass a law that prohibits the police from talking to homeless people?” asked the incredulous top cop. “I think it’s insulting.
“It just reinforces that notion that, like, police are the problem here.”
In championing the bill earlier this week, Councilman Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn) said that, “Experiencing homelessness on the street or on the subway is not a crime.
“I hope that this bill will ensure that there is less harm done by limiting the involvement of police in these interactions.”
In caving to the demands of “defund the police” protesters, the Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio had already slashed the NYPD’s budget, with casualties including the department’s Homeless Outreach Unit.
As The Post reported earlier this month, the dissolution of that unit resulted in an immediate and sustained surge in the number of 311 complaints for homeless individuals either causing trouble or in need of help themselves that were closed out by the NYPD without action.
City Hall and various homeless advocacy groups have panned the bill, saying that banning even the option of calling in the NYPD for back-up went too far.
Shea said Thursday that the proposal is just the latest way in which the NYPD has been demonized.
“I don’t know everything, but I am certain that police are not perfect. We make mistakes,” he said. “But we are not the problem.”
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