911 Report Must Be Released By New York City, Says Judge

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Edward Reed
Edward Reed

NEW YORK — A judge has ordered New York City to release a consultant's review of its 911 system. Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration has been fighting to keep it private.

Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron (ehn-GOHR'-ahn) said Monday that his decision stemmed from a belief in open government and transparency.

Engoron says that the report and all its drafts by the taxpayer funded consultant belong to New York City residents.

The judge compared the city's privacy claim to President Richard Nixon's claims of executive privilege during the Watergate scandal.

City lawyers argue that the review is still a draft. They say an order to release it could prevent policymakers from freely expressing their opinions in the future.

"The review of the system by the City and our consultants is still ongoing—we don't release incomplete materials or analysis," Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman Marc LaVorgna told Gothamist via email. "We provided hundreds of pages of documents, voice recordings and completed materials. We now have three months of experience with the new system and the review will be completed shortly and released."

The report allegedly shows that the 7-year-late, $1-billion-over-budget project has actually slowed emergency response times.

It also, according to The New York Post, exposes in-fighting between the NYPD and FDNY:

Despite a series of reports showing that it would be more efficient for City Hall to exert direct control over emergency communications — because of incessant brawling between the NYPD and FDNY — the mayor’s office is still ducking responsibility.

"The system is as inefficient and ineffective an operation as you could get," an unnamed source told The Post. "Seconds count in emergencies. People are going to die."

A city Law Department spokeswoman says the city might appeal the judge's decision.

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