The New York City Police Department is bracing to work “long hours” in the event of potential unrest from small “core groups” of agitators following Election Day, Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday.
Shea told Spectrum NY1 that police personnel across all ranks are on alert throughout the city.
“[There are] certainly some unanswered questioned in terms of how long they’ll be working, but we’re prepared, we’re ready and we’re looking forward to it,” the top cop said. “Everyone should get out there and vote, and we’ll move forward from there.”
The NYPD is said to boast the largest police force in the country, with roughly 36,000 sworn officers and 16,000 civilian employees. The city is no stranger to spurts of unrest, as happened in the wake of the Minnesota police-involved death of George Floyd at the end of May.
Much like in other parts of the country, what started as peaceful protests devolved into destruction and looting.
“There’s one or two core groups of very, very small groups of individuals that will protest the sky being blue,” Shea said. “And I don’t know that they’re going away anytime soon. I don’t know that they really care who wins this election, either.”
The unrest continued in the Big Apple, at times, throughout the summer and into the fall.
On Tuesday, Shea said the department has “zero information” to indicate there will be post-election mayhem, but promised officers will be out “in force” just in case.
“They’re going to have zero tolerance for it,” Shea said. “… People cannot be just let go and not prosecuted, they need to face consequences.”
In recent months, New York has mostly seen peaceful protests, with 20 to 30 demonstrations held each day in the past week or so, Shea said.
“We’ll deal with them,” he said of any post-election trouble-makers. “The message to all New Yorkers is: Go about your life. Get out there. Vote today.”