New York Daily News

December 28, 2001

Failure Rate on Rise For Rookie Cops

By JOHN MARZULLI
Daily News Police Bureau Chief

Increasing numbers of rookie cops have been getting into trouble and flunking out of the Police Academy, and lower recruiting standards may be the reason, a mayoral commission said yesterday.

"There has potentially been a lowering of the bar," said Richard Davis, chairman of Mayor Giuliani's Commission to Combat Police Corruption. "It's unfair to stigmatize an entire class, but these statistics do raise concerns."

According to the commission's report on NYPD recruiting and hiring, disciplinary action against recruits in the last two academy classes "increased significantly."

In addition, the panel found that despite a 1998 mandate that recruits have at least 60 college credits, the number of rookies who flunked their final exams increased in the last two academy classes. The failure rate of the September 2000 class was double that of the 1997 class, for which college credentials were not mandatory.

In March, the Daily News reported that nearly a quarter of the Police Academy class had flunked its courses and was held back from field training until it passed.

The disturbing findings by the commission appear to confirm charges by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association that the NYPD has lowered standards to fill academy classes.

Thomas Reppetto, head of the Citizens Crime Commission, said the report suggests that the department may not be getting as many qualified candidates as it needs.

"One possibility is the salary is too low," he said.

An NYPD spokesman said department officials received a copy of the report yesterday afternoon and had not had a chance to review its findings.