New York City Deputy Mayor Phil Banks’ public safety briefings, a brief history

After several months of making weekly appearances, he started showing up less frequently.

New York City Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks gives a public safety briefing.

New York City Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks gives a public safety briefing. Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office

On Feb. 24, 2023, the Adams administration launched weekly Friday public safety briefings featuring Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks to talk with New Yorkers about the administration’s “continuing efforts to protect those who live, work, and visit New York City.” The briefings would happen every week, the administration said, and New Yorkers would have a chance to submit questions in advance and hear from Banks, the police commissioner, the fire commissioner, the correction commissioner, the sanitation commissioner and others.

The only problem? After about five months, Banks started attending only about once per month. And the briefings happened weekly for only about six months. Then, this fall, we didn’t get one for three months in a row. Banks seemed to dislike taking press questions. In a weird moment at his final briefing of 2023, he called reporters asking questions “the clown hour.” In response to an inquiry about Banks’ accumulating absences, a City Hall spokesperson said the administration has “come up with innovative ways to keep New Yorkers informed about our initiatives from across the city’s public safety apparatus that have helped drive down overall crime and violent crime with double-digit decreases in homicides and shootings.” So, as we all embark on our New Year’s resolutions, here’s a look at the deputy mayor’s year in Friday briefings in 2023. In the date field, green cells indicate a briefing hosted by Banks; yellow cells indicate a briefing hosted by someone else; and white cells indicate no briefing was held.

Date Notes
Feb. 24 First briefing woo!
March 3
March 10
March 17
March 24
March 30 Thursday briefing on car theft with the mayor this week, going strong!
April 7
April 14
April 21
April 27 Office of Public Safety Chief of Operations Justin Meyers hosts the briefing
May 5
May 12
May 19 Banks announces retail theft initiative with Adams, no briefing this week
May 26
June 2
June 9
June 16 Friday after NYPD Commish Keechant Sewell resigns
June 23 Meyers hosts again
June 30
July 7
July 14
July 21 Meyers hosts
July 28
Aug. 4 Meyers hosts
Aug. 11
Aug. 18 Meyers hosts
Aug. 25 Meyers hosts
Sept. 1 We're back! Summer's over
Sept. 8
Sept. 15
Sept. 22 Uh ... Phil?
Sept. 29
Oct. 6
Oct. 13 This was the week Banks said a reporter asked a "stupid ass fucking question" during a nonsafety briefing.
Oct. 20
Oct. 27
Nov. 3
Nov. 10
Nov. 17
Nov. 24 No briefings for three months ...
Dec. 1 Banks is mum about rumors he's leaving the Adams administration
Dec. 8
Dec. 15 Kaegan Mays‑Williams, general counsel in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, hosts
Dec. 22 Assistant Deputy Mayor Louis Molina hosts
Dec. 29 Banks calls press questions "clown hour"