Just yesterday city officials were bitching about how the Justice Department wasn't giving NYC a dime from the $1 billion economic-stimulus money intended to help cities avoid laying off cops. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder explained that, "These officers will go to where they are needed most, based on crime rates, financial need and community policing activities." In other words, crime is relatively low here, and other places (like the mean streets of Caribou, Maine) need help more. Mayor Bloomberg fumed to reporters, "To punish our Police Department because they have driven down crime with fewer resources shows the backwards incentive system that is sometimes at work in Washington."

But today it's being announced that the city will get about $35 million in federal stimulus money through the Department of Homeland Security’s transit security grant program, which is distributing some $150 million in stimulus funds. The NYPD will use it to hire new recruits. Senator Charles Schumer, who worked with homeland security officials to secure the money, calls the funding "a shot in the arm for New York’s successful fight against crime." An awkward choice of words, perhaps, but the bottom line is that the money will go to hire about 120 officers to patrol the transit system. So it worked out better for the NYPD to get the funding from Homeland Security, because the DoJ program is limited to just 50 officers per city.

Still, the police force is shrinking. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly tells the Times his department has 5,000 fewer officers than it did in 2001 and is expected to lose 1,000 more. He wanted enough stimulus money to hire 2,000 more officers, so there's still a ways to go—until then maybe cops can follow the MTA's lead and start bringing their kids to work to help out?