Police in New York have announced a plan to block the city's New Year's Eve celebration, contending that its crowd control responsibilities in Times Square interfere with a more essential duty.
"The public forgets that New York is one of the world's leading drug trafficking centers, creating an industry here worth billions of dollars," a department spokesman said. "The NYPD provides the open playing field on which this industry can thrive.
"Due to recent staffing cuts, we no longer have the manpower to do that and baby sit an overflow of tourists in Times Square at the same time."
Jack Clavic, president of the city's police patrolmen's union, agreed, pointing out that police corruption has become much more task intensive in recent years.
"Getting your cut of the drug money these days involves more than turning your back and keeping your mouth shut," he said. "We've got to provide security for shipments, run errands for the big drug dealers, and still stage the occasional 'bust' for the news media."
A spokesperson for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is spending the holidays in his Bermuda vacation complex, expressed outrage at the Police Department's support of the drug trade.
"New York already has Wall Street," the spokesperson said. "There is no need for a second racket. The mayor urges the NYPD to get off the drugs and get on the tourists. But none of that pepper spray crap, okay?
"And by the way, the Mayor also would like to remind the police commissioner that his envelope has yet to arrive this month."
The NYPD, meanwhile, plans to take a page from the Occupy Wall Street movement and use its shutdown of Times Square as a publicity opportunity.
"The general public doesn't realize that tons and tons of narcotics and hallucinogens smoothly pass through New York City and many of its residents every day," he said. "That doesn't happen without the assistance and cooperation of a dedicated police force."
The NYPD's Times Square protest will publicize that position with the new slogan: "At War With Drugs. At Peace With Corruption."