By Magdalene Perez
NEW YORK CITY — On a day that the New York Police Department's cadet graduating class fell far short of its goal of 2,800 new officers, researchers and city officials yesterday wondered if an increasingly stretched police force can continue to keep crime rates down.
"This problem is reaching crisis proportions," said City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), head of the Public Safety Committee. "I can think of no other city in the country that's been downsizing since 9/11. We need boots on the ground now more than ever."
While 1,097 cadets graduated yesterday, the department is 1,828 short of the number of officers it is allowed to hire this year, an NYPD spokesman said. The size of the force has declined as officers retire or leave the city to work in higher-paying areas.