Sliwa detailed his platform during a campaign event outside the NYPD’s headquarters in Manhattan. The “Guardian Angels” founder said he would push for the NYPD’s staffing to return to 38,000 officers, up from its current level of roughly 35,000 officers.
“We’re going to refund the police,” Sliwa said at the event, according to the New York Post. “Put that billion dollars back into the budget.”
Current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio backed a proposal to cut the NYPD’s budget of roughly $6 billion in response to citywide protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year. In July, the New York City Council approved a budget that shifted $1 billion in funding from the NYPD to education and social service programs.
De Blasio has faced criticism in recent months amid a surge of violent crime in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic. Recent NYPD statistics showed shootings increased nearly 50% to 245 in the first quarter of 2021.
Sliwa said the city could pay for the police budget increase by applying taxes to Madison Square Garden and local colleges. Madison Square Garden has been exempt from property taxes since 1982 under a special provision.
The mayoral candidate also pledged to take a harder line on public protests after demonstrations last year resulted in instances of looting and property damage. He also supports a re-implementation of “stop and frisk” tactics.
“You imagine people can go out there and vandalize property as we’ve seen on a regular basis, and they’re untouchable?” Sliwa said. “They get to go out there and have a demonstration without a permit? That’s going to stop.”
In 1979, Sliwa founded the Guardian Angels, a volunteer organization that aims to promote public safety in New York. He announced his intent to run for mayor in March.
Sliwa is one of two front-runners for the New York State GOP nomination for mayor. He has secured endorsements from GOP leaders in Staten Island and Brooklyn, while opponent Fernando Mateo, founder of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers, has endorsements in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.
Prominent contenders for the Democratic Party’s nomination include former presidential candidate Andrew Yang and New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
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