New York Daily News

March 1, 2002

72 Bolting NYPD for PA

Major cop defection continues: a trend linked to pay

Daily News Police Bureau Chief

n a startling exodus, 72 cops are resigning from the NYPD next week to join the Port Authority police, the Daily News has learned.

The departures, said one police union official, would be the largest single-day defection from the NYPD to another police agency in memory.

"This is a bigger problem than retirements," said Joseph Maccone, the former head of the NYPD pension section and a current pension expert for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. "At least you got a 20-year career out of the retirees."

Unions officials said there is one major reason behind the exodus — higher pay.

"We are one of the lowest-paid police departments in the country," said PBA President Patrick Lynch. "We're losing experienced officers, and now other police agencies will benefit."

The starting salary for a Port Authority cop is $32,361, compared with $31,305 for the NYPD. But after five years on the job, a Port Authority cop earns $70,344, compared with $51,978 at the NYPD.

Migration to North, Too

The resignations will follow the loss of 20 city cops who joined the Westchester County Police Department last month.

About 3,000 cops retired from the force last year, an unusually large number. At least that many are expected to leave this year with pension benefits boosted by salaries inflated with World Trade Center-related overtime.

Tom Coffey, a PBA delegate at the busy Midtown South Precinct, said his command has seen 49 cops retire or resign for other jobs since June.

"Our job is doing nothing to keep cops from leaving," he said.

Thirty-seven Port Authority cops died in the World Trade Center attacks.

The 72 NYPD cops, including two sergeants, will be sworn in Monday and pass through an expedited eight-week training course. The Port Authority wants to get them out patrolling its transportation facilities as quickly as possible to ease the burden of current PA cops, who have been working 12-hour, six-day weeks since Sept. 11.

Greg Trevor, a Port Authority spokesman, said the NYPD cops were picked from a pool of applicants who passed a 1998 written test.

"The selection process is designed to attract the best applicants to do these jobs, which are more vital than ever," he said.

An NYPD spokesman had no immediate comment.