The growing discord between Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city’s Police Department must be resolved, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday, a day after meeting with city police union leaders amid a wider debate about law enforcement conduct and officer safety.
However, Cuomo dismissed questions about whether he would act as a mediator between City Hall and the New York Police Department.
“Everybody in New York City knows that this situation is unsustainable,” he said. “It’s not healthy and it’s not productive. … Terrorism is alive and well and growing. This city and this state are a possible terrorist target. So this is at least a distraction that we don’t need.”
Police unions say de Blasio hasn’t supported cops in the wake of anti-police protests. The tension worsened following the shooting deaths of two officers, prompting speculation that Cuomo might seek to intervene.
The Democratic governor’s closed-door meeting with union leaders on Tuesday focused on a “range of issues,” according to Cuomo spokeswoman, including a police discipline bill and possible proposals for the legislature.
Cuomo’s administration is reviewing options for addressing concerns about the handling of police misconduct as well as proposals to protect officers against violence.
Proposals from lawmakers include better training for police and the appointment of a special prosecutor to review police shootings of unarmed civilians. Suggestions for helping law enforcement include bullet-proof glass in police cruisers and tougher penalties for those who assault or threaten officers.
On Wednesday, bills was introduced in the Senate and Assembly to fund bulletproof glass for police cars in New York City.
Cuomo said he is doing “a full review” of the options.
“If the public doesn’t trust the justice system, you have a problem,” he said, adding that “the Police Department has to feel respected and protected. Why? Because they deserve it.”