Bill De Blasio, the city’s second-highest elected official, has decided to willingly go without his security detail, The Politicker has learned.
De Blasio was elected public advocate last year. He is next in line to the mayoralty.
Details of De Blasio’s decision to go without security remain sketchy. Neither his office nor the New York Police Department would comment on the record. However several sources described seeing De Blasio around town without the office’s customary body guards or drivers over the past several weeks. According to some who have spoken with De Blasio, he gave up the detail simply because he did not feel comfortable with the security guards hovering around him.
Security is provided to the mayor, the comptroller, the public advocate and the speaker of the City Council by the NYPD at taxpayer’s expense. Security is not a part of the regular operating buget of any of the officeholders.
NYPD has moved to increase security for elected officials in recent years. According to a source, both Mark Green and Betsy Gotbaum–De Blasio’s two predecessors in the office–had a three-person security detail, with one bodyguard on duty at all times. The NYPD however bumped up De Blasio’s and comptroller John Liu’s security detail to six guards, with two on duty at all times, until De Blasio ended the practice.
According to sources, the detectives protecting De Blasio have been reassigned.
In a statement, Matt Wing, De Blasio’s spokesman, said, “As a policy, we do not comment on security matters.”