Syracuse Mayor: We can't afford to pay for all officers chief would like

Mayor Miner differs from her own police chief by saying there are currently enough officers to keep the city safe (File photo/CNYCentral.)

Mayor Stephanie Miner is not budging on her decision not to hire more police officers, even after her two top chiefs said they need them.

On Tuesday, following a dedication of new soccer fields at Schiller Park, Mayor Miner (D-Syracuse) told that she would not be hiring any more officers even though she has the ability to do so.

"We all want more things," she said. "There is another side of this equation, which is, 'What can we pay for?' ... The City of Syracuse is in a very fiscally tough position."

In the 2018 budget, the city expects to dip into $18.5 million of its reserves to meet its obligations.

Currently, the City of Syracuse has 420 police officers with the ability to fund 465 positions, according to Alexander Marion, a spokesperson for the Mayor's office. In July, the Common Council included money for 15 additional officers, which brings the number to 480 eligible positions.

Calls for more police re-surged recently following the shooting of a 30-year-old man on the north side. Family said he had called concerned for his safety prior to being shot, but police didn't respond.

"There's a lot of calls and fewer officers," Syracuse Police Department 1st Deputy Chief Joseph Cecile told Common Councilors two weeks ago.

Chief Frank Fowler echoed the need for more officers again last week. The Mayor disagreed.

"That's not what they said, they said they'd like more officers, they want more officers," Miner said. "We have enough parks department employees, enough code enforcement officers, enough police officers, enough fire department officials to keep the City of Syracuse Safe. Six months from now, if there were to be 25 police officers that retire and 25 firefighters that retire, than you have to go back and reevaluate that."

The Syracuse Police Department recently ushered in a new class in June.

The topic of police staffing has been a big point of discussion in the race for Syracuse's next mayor. The current budget that funds current officer vacancies runs through the end of June 2018.

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