New York City’s push to boost the number of cops patrolling the streets has been crippled by the appallingly low starting salary for recruits, says the New York Daily News. Instead of adding 800 cops to the war on crime, as Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly had hoped, the department failed to increase its numbers by a single officer over the past year. “Starting pay was cut some 40 percent, down to 1986 levels. It doesn’t take a genius to see this will have an impact on recruiting,” Kelly told The News. By the end of last year, the ranks had actually shrunk by 300, despite a March announcement by Bloomberg and Kelly of what was supposed to have been the largest city-financed expansion of the department since 1993.
The low salary was set by an arbitration panel as part of a contract settlement between the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the city in 2005. Officials said interviews with recruits who chose to drop out of the academy found that many were unhappy with the paltry starting salary of $25,100. “I can make more money an hour working in my dad’s grocery,” said a recruit who dropped out to take a job as a sales clerk. “I’ll wait, and hope they bump up the salary and then reapply. If not, I guess I’ll sell Lotto tickets instead of fight crime.” About 16 percent of last January’s class – the first to get the low starting salary – never got their badges.