The New York Police Dept. will not downsize or disband its movie and television unit, city officials say.
Sources said the unit, a 27-officer squad specializing in film location shoots, would be eliminated or reduced in size as part of the city’s cost-cutting measures. The city’s production industry has fought such proposals in the past, and insiders said last week that losing the unit would be “a disaster.”
Although the head of the unit declined comment last week, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s office subsequently issued denials that any changes were in store. “We’re very pleased with the unit,” said a spokeswoman for the mayor. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The unit is specially trained in such location techniques as crowd management and traffic coordination. The service is free to lensers and is regarded by the production industry as an important draw for filmmakers.
Was the unit ever in danger? Not according to the mayor’s office or NYPD Deputy Chief Lawrence Loesch. But less than an hour before Loesch’s official denial on Feb. 26, another NYPD public information officer faxed a response to Variety’s inquiries.
“The movie-television unit is being considered by the administration for downsizing,” the officer wrote. “At this time it is only a consideration and no decision has been made.”
The decision has now been made. The unit stays.