‘Shrooms, Jet Skis, Steak Dinners, And Other NYPD Budget Oddities

In a time when the police force is facing more scrutiny than ever, the NYPD‘s budget has been cracked open to reveal some interesting ways that the the institution doles out its funds every year. Aside from salaries and other unsurprising ways that the money is spent, there are also a few that intrigue closer inspection — among them hallucinogenic mushrooms, jet skis, and steak dinners.

Though that doesn’t necessarily mean that the NYPD is buying ‘shrooms as party favors. Along with MDMA, the department bought $13,368 worth of the hallucinogenic drug in 2011, reported DNAInfo. In order to accurately assess whether or not seized controlled substances are the drug NYPD officers believe them to be, they must have samples of them, explained department spokesman Stephen Davis.

“When examining a suspected illegal substance, it is necessary to have a verified comparison sample to validate the analysis.”

Another attention-grabbing way that the NYPD budget was spent was the amount that went to various New York City restaurants, including $3,400 spent at Midtown steakhouse Gallaghers in May of 2014 alone. When questioned by DNAInfo about the purchases, a spokesperson said that some of them are a part of the department’s program to reward employees for good work. The Department of Citywide Administrative Services said that it gives the department $200,000 a year for this purpose.

NYPD also explained several other expenditures which sounded questionable, but that it assured were not the luxury items they appeared to be. For instance, $93,000 spent on jet skis were for search and rescue operations, not for weekend getaways. NYPD also spends a lot to keep their officers looking fresh. More than $69,000 were spent on the best in shoeshine machines between 2010 and 2014, something that officers are required to use daily to maintain their attire.

Although it could change, NYC mayor Bill de Blasio did not increase the NYPD’s budget for 2016. Instead, spending went up in areas like homelessness and income inequality. This is despite the fact that the NYPD, as well as some New York City politicians, have been pushing for a head count increase in the number of officers on the force, reported NY Daily News.

De Blasio said that he will revisit this issue later, though currently NYPD is set to drop between $8.8 million to $8.7 million in their personnel budget, according to Capital.

In total, the NYC’s budget for 2016 is set for $78 billion, up $2 billion from last year.

[Image by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]