One of New York City’s most effective crimefighting weapons could be taken off the streets because the police department can’t hire enough rookies to staff it, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly warned yesterday, says the New York Daily News. Operation Impact, which floods crime hot spots with two-thirds of the graduating Police Academy class, is at risk after a recruiting dropoff because of the paltry $25,100 starting pay, Kelly told the City Council. “We won’t be able to have an Operation Impact” if the manpower crunch continues, Kelly said. The department expects to hire fewer than 800 rookies cops for its next academy class, starting this summer – well below the 2,800 budgeted.
Coupled with a nearly 18 percent current attrition rate for rookies, that means the department won’t have enough graduating cops to staff impact zones when the class graduates in January. Police in 14 targeted high-crime areas have helped pushed down crime 19 percent so far this year; in previous years, the cumulative crime drop has approached 30 percent in impact zones over 12 months.