Rookie New York City cops will earn $25,100 a year under a new contract approved by a state arbitration panel, says the New York Daily News. It is the lowest starting salary for NYPD officers in at least 20 years. The drastic pay cut is designed to help fund a 10.25 percent raise over two years for officers already on the payroll. Critics fear it will harm the NYPD’s ability to recruit new cops. “How can the city justify having young police officers strap on a gun belt and a bulletproof vest for $25,000 a year?” a nine-year veteran asked. “This is absolutely ridiculous.” The previous starting pay for rookies was about $36,000 plus a uniform allowance, holiday pay, and health insurance.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had wanted to grant cops a raise of no more than 5 percent over three years, said the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association “chose” to lower rookie salaries in exchange for higher pay for veterans. Asked how the city would hire 3,000 cops a year with lower pay, the mayor said, “We are going to find out. But whether we can or we can’t, that is the way the arbitrator ruled.” Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne noted that 85,481 candidates have applied for fewer than 10,000 openings since 2002.