Brad Lander, Jumaane Williams to Ray Kelly: NYPD Must Have Oversight

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Councilmembers Brad Lander and Jumaane Williams want answers.

At a City Council budget oversight hearing today, they grilled NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly about how the department spends money -- specifically when it comes to surveillance and terrorism. But Kelly couldn't really say.

Lander and Williams, along with other council members, want to know exactly what happens to the cops' cash. And they think the best way to oversee the department is by creating an inspector general's office.

"Commissioner Kelly asks us to trust him that NYPD officers are following the law, but he either could not or would not tell us what the NYPD is spending our money on," he said post-hearing.

Lander asked for an explanation of a proposed $17 million increase for counter-terrorism funds -- from $29.5 million to $47.4 million for the next fiscal year. That's a proposed 60 percent increase.

He also wants to know why the intelligence division has needed more money of late -- from $45 million in 2009 to $60 million today.

In Lander's recounting of today's events, Kelly was unable to tell him how much money is spent "on the surveillance of Muslims, on CUNY campuses, or on Occupy Wall Street."

"Most striking and distressing: NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Management and Budget Edmund Allocco said directly that the NYPD does not have the staff and resources necessary to keep track of budget information."

Lander told Runnin' Scared that: "It hammers home the need for more oversight."

"I was not able to get any additional information," he said. "The takeaway for me is that we need an NYPD inspector general to provide independent oversight."

Lander and Williams plan on introducing a bill that would create this inspector general's office.

"Councilmember Williams is just as committed to addressing violence in communities of more color as he is addressing abusive and unjust police practices in communities of more color, and it is a false choice to say you have to choose between the two," Stefan Ringel, spokesman for Williams, told Runnin' Scared.

Runnin' Scared reached out to the NYPD. We'll update if we hear back.

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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