New York Daily News


Says heroic subway rescue by cops shows that surge in NYPD overtime is working


Two NYPD officers who saved a homeless man after he fell onto the subway tracks in East Harlem over the weekend were on the clock thanks to the Police Department’s “omnipresen­ce” initiative in the transit system, Mayor Adams said Monday.

Speaking at the E. 116th St.-Lexington Ave. station where the rescue took place Thanksgivi­ng Day, Adams told reporters that the officers, Taufique Bokth and Brunel Victor, were on a four-hour overtime shift when they spotted the unidentifi­ed man falling onto the tracks from the opposite platform.

“They jumped to the rescue, even risking their own lives,” said Adams, who was joined by the two officers, NYPD Commission­er Keechant Sewell and other transit and police officials.

The man, who tumbled to the tracks after suffering a dizzy spell, was swept up from the tracks by the officers with help from an unidentifi­ed good Samaritan mere seconds before a train barreled into the station, officials said. He was taken to a hospital and has made a full recovery, Adams said.

The mayor said the rescue is a testament to the success of a public safety initiative he and Gov. Hochul rolled out in October that green-lit 1,200 additional overtime shifts in the subway system every day.

“The blue surge in the subway system is working,” Adams said, noting that Bokth and Victor’s OT shifts were bankrolled by the new undergroun­d public safety effort.

The beefed-up cop presence in the subway, which Adams has described as key to his “omnipresen­ce policing” strategy, comes amid heightened concern about safety in the system due to a recent string of random attacks undergroun­d.

Despite such acts of violence, crime overall in the subway system is trending in the right direction, according to NYPD data. Major felonies in the system are down 13% over the past 28 days, and down 5.4% as compared with 2017, the data show.

Adams’ defense of the cop surge in the subways also comes as he’s facing heat for failing to make good on a campaign promise to

reel in the NYPD’s bloated overtime budget.

On the mayoral campaign trail last year, Adams promised to slash the NYPD’s OT budget in half if elected. Nonetheles­s, state Comptrolle­r Thomas DiNapoli found this summer the NYPD spent a nearly record-breaking $762 million on overtime in the last fiscal year, half of which Adams was in office for.

At the same time, Adams’ spending modificati­on plan released last week showed the NYPD did not achieve the budget savings he set for all city agencies earlier this year.

“This man wants to defund everything except the cops,” progressiv­e Democratic Brooklyn state Sen. Jabari Brisport said during a recent anti-Adams-budget rally on the City Hall steps.

On the other side of the equation, Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Associatio­n, used the example of Bokth and Victor to push for better pay for his members.

“Like all New York City police officers, they are overworked and underpaid,” the NYPD union chief said Monday. “They deserve a competitiv­e salary that will reverse the current NYPD staffing emergency. Press conference­s and mayoral proclamati­ons will not stop cops from quitting in droves. If our city doesn’t immediatel­y fix our low pay and brutal work schedule, there may not be a hero police officer available to help the next time a New Yorker is in distress in the subway.”

Though some crime categories, including robberies, have increased in recent months, shootings and murders are down citywide, according to NYPD statistics.

Nonetheles­s, Adams contended last week that now is not the time to shave the NYPD budget or address police overtime spending because there’s “a crime surge that we must address.”

At Monday’s news conference, Adams took credit for the dip in shootings and homicides.

“We’re on the right train, we’re moving in the right direction,” he said. “We’re going southbound on crime.”

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 ?? ?? Hizzoner is flanked by Officers Taufique Bokth (l.) and Brunel Victor as he is joined Monday by top cop Keechant Sewell (r.) in honoring two Finest for Thanksgivn­g rescue (below).
Hizzoner is flanked by Officers Taufique Bokth (l.) and Brunel Victor as he is joined Monday by top cop Keechant Sewell (r.) in honoring two Finest for Thanksgivn­g rescue (below).

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