For the NYPD, Wall Street Protests Have Hefty Price Tag

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Police clear a path for protesters. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

With demonstrations such as the one on the Brooklyn Bridge last Saturday that drew more than 700 arrests, the police department has been rotating in officers from other precincts — even as far as the Bronx — to help watch over the protesters camped out at Zuccotti Park and help with crowd control during the marches.

It is typical to see officers all over the city drafted to help out at large gatherings — and that typically means a lot of overtime. Now in its third week, the protests are getting expensive for the New York City Police Department.

"This is costing a lot of money, at a time when we are being warned that we may face revenge attacks from al-Qaida because of our recent drone strike,” said Councilman Peter Vallone of Queens.

Vallone, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he'll be asking for an accounting at the end of it all.

"We're going to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe even $1 million on this that we don't have. Because of these protests, we might even wind up shutting down schools and firehouses because this is costing a lot of money." Vallone said.

The NYPD declined to comment on how much the protests have cost the department.

An NYPD lawyer has been on site near Zuccotti Park, so officers can consult him about whether an arrest they're considering to make is proper.

Senior supervising officers — or, "white shirts," as they're often called because of the uniform they wear — have been out in force monitoring the marches. 

Members of the department have told WNYC that larger presence of "white shirts" is customary at large protests because of the sensitivities involved with trying to enforce the law while respecting First Amendment rights, and according to those sources, officers have been instructed not to make arrests unless explicitly authorized by a lieutenant, captain or inspector to do so.

A representative for Occupy Wall Street said in statement that the movement "maintains the greatest respect for the NYPD. Officer[s] who have been assigned to keep watch over Occupy Wall Street protesters are sorely needed in other places. Often they are pulled away from precincts, which are sorely understaffed and it's an expensive proposition."

Meanwhile, dealing with the unhappy owners of Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Office Properties, is another headache that won't be going away any time soon for the NYPD.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said the protesters have a right to remain in a public space, but park owners have been irritated by their new squatters. 

In a written statement, Brookfield said the protesters are violating rules about keeping the park clean and safe: "Basic rules intended to keep the park safe, open, clean, and welcoming to all visitors are clearly posted. These rules include bans on the erection of tents or other structures, as well as the placement of tarps, sleeping bags or other coverings on the property. Lying down on benches, sitting areas or walkways is likewise prohibited. Unfortunately, many of the individuals currently occupying the grounds are ignoring these basic yet necessary requirements."

Protesters say they intend to remain on the grounds indefinitely.  But members of the police department have told WNYC they have been in talks with the park owners and "indefinitely" won't be a viable option.


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Comments [40]

TheTruth from NYC

This article also neglects to mention that J.P. Morgan made a 4.6 M donation to the NYPD.

Oct. 11 2011 01:08 AM

It's nice that Council Member Vallone is concerned about the cost of the NYPD to monitor the Occupy Wall Street protest. Maybe, Mr. Vallone should be equally concerned about the safety of the protestors and their right to demonstrate peacefully without being bullied by some over reacting so-called white shirt police officers using pepper spray and striking many with their batons including a FOX-TV photographer and reporter. As chair of the Public Safety Committee, Mr. Vallone should also be concerned about Police Commissioner Kelly announcing to the media that the NYPD he heads will investigate itself concerning pepper spraying by police officers. It may better for Mr. Vallone and his committee taking over the investigation to take away the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Oct. 08 2011 04:59 PM
Randi from Brooklyn

Note to Peter Vallone - If Wall St. hadn't ripped us off at the cost of billions of dollars, then we would have enough money to pay fire, police, sanit and teachers. These protesters are actually standing up for for the blue collar and public workforce, people Vallone was elected to represent.

Also, mention to the Councilman from Queens that his beloved NYPD would be able to fight the increased crime in this city if Mayor Billionaire and his cronies didn't force the Police Dept to become revenue collection agents. The force can't solve a shooting, but they sure know how to write up a ticket.

Oct. 05 2011 04:48 PM

Mike from, is absolutely right, it's time to arm ourselves and be ready for survival mode, because whatever it is, is coming and it wont be pretty!

Oct. 05 2011 03:25 PM
Mike from

If they would have arrested the people responsible for the collapse of the economy this wouldn't be the case. It seems that you could definitely save on mace costs! Pigs are worthless. Citizens buy your guns now. When pigs break the law we need to police them. Tell the pigs to go home & let us lynch those responsible, pigs included!

Oct. 05 2011 01:08 PM
Joe B from Brooklyn

Should we even be occupying Wall Street in the first place? Sure Wall Street is full of greedy, self indulgent scum, but it's always been that way.

We didn't elect the bankers. We elected our congress men and women to represent the us, the public. But instead of representing public interest, the represent private interest. Bought and paid for.

When the police kick out the protesters on Wall Street, we should OCCUPY CONGRESS.

Oct. 05 2011 01:01 PM
jen from manhattan from Manhattan

RE: To the ignoramus who said......... "- Why don't you reinstate the meters on Sunday?

First, I don't think that is a particularly civil comment. Second, I am hardly an ignoramus and in good company since Mayor Bloomberg initially vetoed the legislation but the city council passed it over his veto. He called it fiscally irresponsible as well, and we're not calling him a financial moron, are we?

Second, the suspension benefits people with cars. Not truly economically disadvantaged people who cannot afford cars, but rather middle class people who want to save on parking for a day and instead hog the spaces in front of the grocery stores and other retailers so that it is impossible for anyone visiting the city to find parking.

Lastly, the rationalization given for choosing Sunday as the day was ridiculous--people had to run out of church to feed the meters. What about the people running out of synogogue on Saturdays to feed the meter? It's all very silly and it was clearly a gimme to the car-loving voters from the outer boroughs.

Oct. 05 2011 11:26 AM
Steven from Brooklyn

By way of clarification of some of the things said below:

1) The park is not a public park. It is a piece of land wholly owned by a privately-held property management company, Brooklfield, which also owns an adjacent skyscraper. Unlike the owners of Grammercy Park, they elected to open their park not only to select tenants, but to the public. They do, however, have the right to post rules for use of their park, and could conceivably seek to evict anyone from their land. Those living at the park are doing so because Brookfield has, so far, decided to let them.

2) If this were a public park, this would have been over in a day. You can't set up camp overnight in public parks as a matter of city law. You also can't camp on sidewalks in any way that impedes the good order and safety of the city. I.e., a few hundred people could definitely not camp near each other on the sidewalk at any one place.

3) Protestor safety is why the large police presence is indispensible. Hundreds or a thousand or so people marching through crowded downtown streets, in and out of traffic, two or more times a day, have to have a police force to keep them out of traffic, to keep traffic away from them, to ensure the safe passage of firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles during the march, and to ensure that everyday citizens still have some reasoanble access to the same public spaces the marches are taking up. The irony is that if a marcher was hit by a car or attacked by some bystander, or if some person with a stroller was forced onto the street by otherwise well-meaning marchers and subsequently injured, the first indictment would be made againt the police, with accusations that these protestors, for political reasons, were thrown to the wolves.

4) Social media dictates a large police presence. Organizers tout their ability to summon an army of thousands of concerned citizens with little notice, so the police, for public safety reasons, have to have a large enough presence on hand to handle the rapidly shifting size and nature of a social-media-generated protest.

5) In any case, the idea that it would have been okay to march on the roadway of the Brooklyn Bridge is ludicrous. And the idea that protestors who, as a point of defiance and pride, refused to follow the police anywhere, on any specfied route, over the last two weeks ("Our streets!"), suddenly decided they would let the NYPD lead them like sheep onto a roadway that nobody ever, ever walks on, is equally ludicrous, especially when there's video of a cop with a bullhorn employing people to get off the roadway, and people chanting "take the bridge."

This seems to be what policing a democracy looks like. Expensive, but probably worth it.

Oct. 05 2011 11:05 AM

According to an expert on Brians show wall st. is reponsible for 3.5 jobs fpr every job on the street. I would like some of the protesters to addrees this.

Oct. 05 2011 10:53 AM
Judith from Brooklyn

The reason a lot of people don't pay income taxes is because they don't have enough income!! But they do pay plenty of other taxes, taxes that fall disproportionally on lower income people, such as sales taxes.

Oct. 05 2011 10:40 AM
M from NYC

RE: To the ignoramus who said......... "- Why don't you reinstate the meters on Sunday? The council's decision to give free parking to all on Sundays has cost the city a lot more than NYPD overtime for this protest. And, not for anything, but shouldn't the police officers be acting much more nicely towards the protesters who are, after all, providing them with a nice source of overtime"

No one who lives in NYC would ever would ever want Sundays to be just like any other day in the city. Its the one day that we can enjoy freely, a day off so to speak. We work hard at earning a day off so why would you or anyone want to take that punish the residents who work so hard all week on the one day of respite they have? It certainly would not effect the wealthy but the more economically disadvantaged. Isn't that the demographic you're supposedly protesting in favor of?

AND as far as asking the NYCPD to be "grateful" for the excess of overtime offered by selfish, ignorant minions who follow the masses just because....think again if you can. City resources and agencies are maxed to the limit, having Corporate America taking their hard earned money is bad enough, having idiots who think they're helping the "little guy" but are sorely misinformed, adding insult to injury that is slowly diminishing what little funding is left for our city agencies is more than we can bear!

Grow up and find a more financially feasible way to support the "little fish" in this "big fish" city. What you're doing is creating more hardships for all of us in the long run; in addition, you lose the support of the very people you think you're fighting for.

Oct. 05 2011 10:40 AM
Big Al from Upper West Side

The issues between the rights of the American people to stage non-violent civil protests and the rights of a municipal government to maintain safety for all its citizens should have been Mr. Vallone's concern. It is patently and eerily stupid of him to cynically use this event to get his name in the press, (he reminds us of Schumer, if there is anyway to get their name in the press, television for Schumer, it will be seized on no matter how dumb, inane, irrelevant or silly). It is offensive to try to tie a terrorist issue to this legal protest, just another example of a politican who has no power, after all the mayor controls the city council through his donations to their aligned not-for profits, keeping his name 'out there' so that when he thinks its his turn, he can run for mayor.

Oct. 05 2011 10:16 AM
jen from manhattan from manhattan

I have an idea -- why don't you reinstate the meters on Sunday? The council's decision to give free parking to all on Sundays has cost the city a lot more than NYPD overtime for this protest.

And, not for anything, but shouldn't the police officers be acting much more nicely towards the protesters who are, after all, providing them with a nice source of overtime?

Oct. 05 2011 10:00 AM
B from the LI

"I'm appalled at how stupid the NYPD must think we are. Blame the protesters for the NYPD response?"

Oh so they're stupid for someone else making the statement about the cost to the NYPD? Get some reading comprehension, the NYPD is not blaming anybody, and have not made comment on the cost, that was done by a politician, that has nothing to do with the NYPD.

You're knee-jerk reaction, and lack of reading comprehension clearly demonstrate what type of people cause issues at these protests.

Oct. 05 2011 09:52 AM
Chris from Brooklyn

I'm appalled at how stupid the NYPD must think we are. Blame the protesters for the NYPD response?

I've yet to see any violence down at Freedom Plaza, so it seems rather evident that the police are primarily interested in bullying and intimidation. They want a heavy presence to discourage others from showing their displeasure. This whining and fear-mongering is base and disgusting.

Shame on you, Commissioner Kelly.

Shame on you, Councilman Vallone.

To the blue shirts: You are among the 99%. We're down there now to protect YOUR wages and pensions, as well.

Oct. 05 2011 09:41 AM
Julian from Teaneck, NJ

I want to suggest an idea to NYPD: articulate a support fund from Big Banks called "Wall Street for NYPD". The ice was broken by Chase Bank donation of $4.6 million.

Oct. 05 2011 09:30 AM

This piece shifts the blame with a clear agenda.The protesters have a sophisticated community relations apparatus to work with local residents and vendors–if the reporter actually spent any time at Zuccotti Park, or talked to more than a suspiciously unnamed “representative”, he or she would know that. The idea that the piece correlates and blames the protesters (who are trying to finally stand up against the greed that is causing budget cuts in the public sector) with the potential shutting down of a fire house is kind of ironic, no?

Oct. 05 2011 08:54 AM
Zaftig from BK

So are people supposed to go home because they feel bad about the number of cops who are present? Hmmm...

Oct. 05 2011 08:45 AM
Tallyrand from NYC

This suchBad and mis-reputation report, Everybody yes even NPR is on the Payroll

Oct. 05 2011 08:26 AM

As taxpayers, we should all be angry at the CITY for spending our money on such a wasteful, unnecessary expense. I was down there on Wall Street last weekend and there is an absurdly large police presence given the size and nature of the protest. It's clearly intended to intimidate others from joining, not to protect the public. In fact, we should be asking the mayor and the police commissioner, how the outer boroughs are being policed when you're concentrating the lion's share of your resources on a encircling and monitoring a peaceful protest. We certainly should be angry, but NOT at the protestors!

Oct. 05 2011 07:38 AM
rob from florida

Lets see if we start hearing the poor us we may get attacked b_s_t on Fox today, we dont have enough money...This is the first sign the corporate world is involved activly now..

Oct. 05 2011 06:58 AM
Michael Scott

A public park has owners? I think this might be exactly the problem the protest is talking about. Maybe when the cops are tired of spending all that money on a nonviolent, constitutional meeting, then they'll go away and we can move the camp to Wall Street itself.

Oct. 05 2011 06:21 AM
Doug Brown from Carolina

The simple solution to getting the protesters out of Liberty Plaza is to let them #occupywallst. I'm 50 years old, have built a multi-million dollar company, run several others, and the only hand out I have ever taken from the government in my life was 8 weeks of unemployment that I stupidly took 3 years ago. The only expense the NYPD is incurring is protecting the banksters on Wall St. In case you can't figure it out....that is where all our money went.

Oct. 05 2011 05:44 AM
Laurent Burton from Europe

Dear Councilman Peter Vallone,
You could try and listen to the protesters and try to resolve their issues. Make a deal with them, fix the problem and then the cost will go down. And maybe, MAYBE, if you did your job correctly society will get better ...
Something which should basicly be your aim all together. But from your earlier comment, change is not one of your prerogatives.
The art and practice of gaining power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people. Sounds familiar Councilman?

Oct. 05 2011 04:18 AM

Oh, i'm not surprised by the NYPD being portrayed as victims, not the threats of closing schools and fire houses, and i'm also not surprised that they failed to mention a huge donation made by JP Morgan Chase to the department to "make this little issue disappear".

Oct. 05 2011 04:14 AM

'Unfortunately, many of the individuals currently occupying the grounds are ignoring these basic yet necessary requirements, which interferes with the use of the park by others, including local residents, office workers, and visitors.'

the local residents, office workers, and visitors are specifically the people who are already there so denying them access only to allow them access again seems like a waste of time.

Oct. 05 2011 04:09 AM
nasdaf from NYC

"We're going to spend hundreds of thousands, maybe even a million dollars on this that we don't have."

While this sounds poetic, it is the necessary lie that Capitalism has taught its children since 1913. It is simultaneously the very paradigm of the American and Consumer Condition that #OccupyWallSt is trying to transcend.

Spend what you don't have. When we have to pay our debt, we'll just print more money and devalue the working American's hard earned dollars. Then we'll raise their taxes and their fees and their bills and their utilities and they're suddenly irate and you're not even surprised. You've seen this before. You've hurt things before.

So you see the poor as just a frog to your rock.And their numbers are growing. Its exactly as your grandfather predicted. Your bonds are maturing, your stocks are gushing, your face is a pimple and your brain is a stump.

Oct. 05 2011 03:28 AM

Not only BS scare tactics of it being a possible advantage to al-qaida and schools shutting down to create thoughts like: "Now these delinquent trouble makers are affecting the KIDS!? This has got to stop"...
But this is MAKING them money!
They're an industry in the business of making arrests, so for them business is booming! The more people they can get in the system, the more they make. Resolving legal issues isn't cheap. Whether your money goes to the public, courts, or lawyers. The police are the fishermen.

Please don't let yourself be the lower half of the intelligence average.

Oct. 05 2011 03:11 AM

lol @ the scare tactics - "al-queda might strike! firehouses and schools may close! oh noes!"

honestly. off with their heads. us 99% are SICK OF IT. sick of the "politicians" who are only in the game to make their pockets deeper (sounds like councilman vallone to me) and the bankers who wantto throw this country under a bus for a few more billion in profits and bonuses to keep their non taxable off shore accounts floating high.

Oct. 05 2011 02:37 AM

"Because of these protests, we might even wind up shutting down schools and firehouses because this is costing a lot of money."

Yes, great idea. It will bolster the number of people at the protests. *facepalm*

Oct. 05 2011 02:05 AM

Why don't they just use some of that $4.6 million JP Morgan gave them recently

Oct. 05 2011 02:03 AM
mike from 41033

meh yes it will be expensive but measures have to be taken. noone said it would be easy or free or that it would all fit in perfectly with everything else and the solve everything. its important enough that it must be continued.

Oct. 05 2011 02:00 AM

Can't wait to see what happens when they try to kick people out of the park.

Doing that I think would be a big mistake.

Oct. 05 2011 02:00 AM
ThyGeekGoddess from The Metaverse, USA

Too expensive? Didn't Bloomberg JUST bought himself a brand new NYPD?

Hmm, it appears he's been doing a lot of that.

Gee, I wonder why there's no CURE for anything? Just look at the names on that list!
Someone please tell me I'm not seeing what I'm seeing, cuz I tend to read too much between the lines, especially these days, but DAYAMN! It's about Bloomberg's '08 "donations".

Oct. 05 2011 01:49 AM
Donna from Arizona

I love how they are throwing up the bit about "we may face revenge attacks from Al Quaida" scare tactics. Next they'll give us the "weapons of mass destruction" talk that the Bush Admin. used to terrify us into giving our children to the Oil Whores for their war in Iraq.. Hell, we're gonna starve if something isn't done, and many are already homeless, so we;re already scared. We have no issue with the police; and if there was a disaster our people would be running to help out... you won't get any help from your Wall Street fat cats, you can bet on that.

Oct. 05 2011 01:49 AM

Yeah, it's the protesters' fault that the NYPD is wasting money (donated by J.P. Morgan Chase) by using an excessive number of officers to "monitor" a peaceful protest. Curse them for trying to save our country!

But nice job appealing to emotion with Al-Qaida, "schools and firehouses," and "interfering" with others.

Oct. 05 2011 01:35 AM

Maybe those rich bankster CEO's ought to take some of their money out of their Wall Street hedge funds and give it to NYC. Hmmmm? After all - they're the ones sending the jobs overseas and stealing our tax money!

Oct. 05 2011 01:33 AM


JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple.


Oct. 05 2011 01:25 AM

Oh, I'm sure the NYPD can find the money somewhere...

Oct. 05 2011 01:08 AM

Oh come on, the cops love the extra OT! But hey, if the bankers want to keep getting protection maybe they should volunteer to contribute some more taxes. When people say the rich should pay more because they benefit the most from the government, this is exactly what is meant.

Oct. 05 2011 12:13 AM

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