The $25,100 annual salary earned by New York City rookie police officers is so low that it has hurt recruitment and become the latest symbol of a bitter labor battle, reports the Associated Press. The entry-level pay is “bizarre,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says. Officials with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association agree. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg says “the truth of the matter is the low starting salaries for police officers was the choice of the police union.” The PBA, which represents 23,000 patrol officers, claims it was forced to accept lower salaries to avoid making productivity concessions during the last deal in 2005. The department has 37,000 officers of all ranks.
Until 2005, the starting pay for new police officers was about $36,000. Officials say the drop in starting pay has stymied recruitment. The current police academy class of about 1,100 officers fell more than 900 short of the department’s goal. “No one becomes a cop to become rich, but you have to at least be able to survive,” Kelly said. More than 900 officers resigned last year, compared to only 379 a decade earlier, the union said.