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Mayor De Blasio, MTA At Odds Over Number Of Cops In Subway System

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Mayor Bill de Blasio and the MTA are at odds over how many cops it will take to keep subway riders safe; CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer has the story.

Video Transcript

- A woman is punched by a stranger in an unprovoked attack at a subway station on 42nd Street. It's part of this violent increase in subway crime in the city. And now, Mayor De Blasio and the MTA seem to be at odds over how many police officers it will take to keep riders safe. CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer with the story for us tonight.

MARCIA KRAMER: The MTA demonstrates a show of force at the Union Square subway station, something called a train order maintenance sweep, to show they're taking the recent nightmare spike in subway violence seriously.

KATHLEEN O'REILLY: This surge was already in the works prior to the unfortunate events.

MARCIA KRAMER: NYPD Transit Chief Kathleen O'Reilly referring to the most recent horrifying incident. This homeless man confessing to a deadly stabbing spree on the A train. Two men survived, while one man and 44-year-old Claudine Roberts died. She said an additional 644 cops, 144 more than originally promised will be added to the transit patrols. That includes--

KATHLEEN O'REILLY: 313 that are coming from Patrol Services Bureau are dedicated to 68 stations.

MARCIA KRAMER: The MTA says that number is woefully short. Chairman Pat Foy demanding 1,000 more above and beyond the recent surge to keep a promise of patrol strength made in 1995.

PAT FOYE: We feel strongly about the request to provide a safe and secure environment.

MARCIA KRAMER: But when I asked Mayor De Blasio about the MTA request, he made it clear it's just not happening. He's content with the current numbers.

BILL DE BLASIO: I feel very confident. The NYPD believes this will be the difference maker.

MARCIA KRAMER: But at the Inwood subway station, where one of the stabbing incidents occurred, there was a cry for more cops.

- In the night, it's really dangerous in there, because there's a lot of people that-- I mean like homeless. Sometimes they're acting like crazy.

- Right now, we're going through a pandemic. Police are necessary, no matter what happens.

- The more police there are, the safer we all feel.

MARCIA KRAMER: Meanwhile, the mayor was forced to admit that a much ballyhooed program announced by First Lady Charlene McCray last November to change how the city deals with 911 calls has not gotten off the ground. The program is supposed to send mental health professionals instead of cops to certain calls.

BILL DE BLASIO: There's a few things have to be done to finalize it.

MARCIA KRAMER: In addition to the transit cops, there are also about 900 MTA cops whose job is to protect the commuter rails. In Harrison, New York, I'm Marcia Kramer, CBS 2 News.