NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill

Ethan Harp/WCBS 880

O'Neill Defends Use Of Counterterrorism Plane

July 19, 2018 - 1:18 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill this week defended using a multi-million dollar counterterrorism plane for transportation, saying he has a busy schedule.

As WCBS 880’s Mike Smeltz reported, some are questioning whether the plane is being used appropriately.

The $4 million NYPD-controlled plane is meant to be used in counterterrorism missions to monitor boats coming into New York.

“Me on a counterterrorism mission? No, that’s not my job,” O’Neill said.

But O’Neill admitted he has used that plane three or four times, most recently to fly to Western New York for a funeral of a state trooper killed in the duty.

“The police commissioner has a very busy schedule, as you might appreciate, and sometimes, to get to different places, we need to do it quickly,” O’Neill said. “I want to do as much as I possibly can in one day.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio also took a round trip on the federally-funded plane, going from Canada down to the Bronx and back for a street renaming.

“You know, we’re giving them an a-ha moment,” said Queens City Councilman Donovan Richards (D-31st), chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

Richards said such outside-the-lines use provides fuel to the Trump administration, which has threatened to cut security funding to New York City over its sanctuary city status.

“Now, New York City taxpayers will have to put the bill if some of this grant money is taken away from the city,” he said.