New York Daily News

NYPD losing cops due to low pay and too much OT


Recent news reports have highlighte­d the NYPD’s growing exodus. The department, which already has several thousand fewer officers than it did in June 2020, is now hemorrhagi­ng young officers faster than it can replace them. The officers who remain are under increased pressure to maintain response times and drive down crime, often by being forced to work excessive amounts of overtime. These conditions will only accelerate the downward spiral and exodus.

Government leaders need to recognize that the job market has changed and police agencies need to adapt to attract and retain the best candidates.

While police agencies across the country struggle to recruit new officers, the NYPD has no such issue. Thousands of young men and women have taken recent police exams, and are being screened for potential hiring. The issue comes after these recruits graduate from the police academy, quickly become disillusio­ned by the low pay and poor working conditions, and realize that as NYPD officers, they are some of the most sought-after profession­als in the United States. NYPD officers have a $42,000 starting salary, about $20 per hour. They last received a raise in July 2016 — nearly seven years ago — and have been working without a contract since July 31, 2017.

Many of the young officers leaving the department have never had a raise, despite working for the NYPD for more than five years. Department­s across the country are aggressive­ly recruiting our most promising young officers. Just last week, Dallas Police Department recruiters were here, offering NYPD officers a starting salary of $79,000 — nearly twice what they make now.

I have spoken with many young officers who have left for other agencies, and they all cite the same reasons of better pay, better working conditions, easier commutes, lower cost of living, and better quality of life; the very same reasons people leave one private employer for another.

One young officer I spoke with represente­d everything the NYPD has sought to recruit over the past few years: A Canarsie native who grew up in public housing and earned a master’s degree before joining the NYPD. Her reasons for leaving the NYPD after five years? Better pay, shorter work week, more community and political support and a 15-minute commute to work (versus her New York commute of more than an hour each way). She also expressed her belief that she would never be able to buy her own home in New York with the high cost and low pay, and wasn’t being forced into long overtime shifts.

Several Transit Bureau officers have told me they are being made to work 75 hours of overtime every month, often by forfeiting their scheduled days off and patrol officers have similar complaints. They see no end in sight to this as they have to make up the staffing shortages.

Officers of my generation had a seemingly insatiable appetite for overtime. Today’s generation is different. Like others in their age group, they work to live, rather than live to work. Their time off and quality of life is more important to them than the extra money.

The average age of a person entering the NYPD is 25. The pandemic has permanentl­y changed the business world, with most employers — including most New York City agencies — allowing employees a hybrid or even fully remote schedule. Police department­s recruit from the same pool of young people. Since policing can’t be done remotely, agencies need to offer potential employees something to entice them. They need to see policing as a viable profession where they can earn a living. Lowering standards to fill vacancies is a recipe for disaster with consequenc­es that last for decades.

In July, the Kentucky State Police raised the starting salary for new troopers to $62,000, and gave all current troopers a $15,000 raise. Not only did this stop the exodus of experience­d personnel from the agency, they also recently hired their largest recruit class in more than a decade. Other agencies are also offering substantia­l raises, along with other incentives including a four-day work week and a take home car.

New York City police officers are not only the lowest paid in the region, they are quickly falling behind the rest of the country, and unless dramatic action is taken soon, our Finest will soon be the finest in other cities.

The public has the right to expect the best in policing. Like every other profession, you get the best talent by paying for it. We expect our police officers to think like lawyers, speak like psychologi­sts and perform like athletes. You cannot reasonably expect profession­al policing if you don’t treat police officers like profession­als.

Corey retired from the NYPD last year after nearly 35 years of service, concluding as chief of department, the highest ranking officer.

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