Mayor: No cost for added police presence in New York subway system

First riders aboard the Second Avenue Subway on January 1, 2017. (Patrick Cashin/Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

(The Center Square) – New York City Mayor Eric Adams told reporters Friday that any plans to implement new security equipment or bolster police presence in the subway system would not add any burden to the taxpayers.

The mayor’s comments come days after a gunman entered a subway train at a Brooklyn station during rush hour on Tuesday morning, released smoke grenades in a car and started shooting. No one died in the incident, 10 people were wounded and nearly 30 were injured in the chaos.

Authorities arrested Frank James, the alleged gunman, on Wednesday.

In the aftermath, Adams – a former police captain – has said in interviews that weapons detection equipment could be installed at subway stations across the city. That could be a noninvasive way to monitor passengers while not interfering with people’s movements.

The first-year mayor told WPIX-TV this week that the city would double the police presence at the subway stations. None of that, though, will cost more, he said on Friday.

“We’re not increasing the budget based on the technology that we’re looking to put in place and based on how we’re going to deploy our officers,” the mayor said. “I only stated that the goal is to deploy the offices more efficiently, and that is what we are committed to doing.”

The push for additional technology comes as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state agency that oversees the subway system, dealt with cameras in the system that were down during the attack.

At a press conference Thursday, MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber said that some cameras where the shooting took place were offline due to internet connectivity issues. However, he added there were other cameras working in the area at the time. Those cameras helped law enforcement in their investigation, Lieber said.

He added that the agency has spent hundreds of millions to install upward of 7,000 cameras in the subway system.

“We’re doing another couple of hundred million dollars on it now,” the MTA leader said. “It’s a huge piece of our system, but obviously not guaranteed that every single camera is going to be working at every time, which is why you have so many.”

Lieber also said he liked what he heard from Adams about exploring technological solutions.

However, he does not want to see airport-style security systems with metal detectors because he said that would be too disruptive for subway users.

“If there are technologies that can make everybody feel safe, make it even more desirable to share in what is our birthright as New Yorkers – the subway and mass transit – I’m all for it. All I’ve said so far is, I’m for every idea being studied that could work.”

By Steve Bittenbender | The Center Square contributor

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