New York Daily News

October 26, 2007

State police crushes city NYPD when it comes to recruiting

BY TINA MOORE
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU

As the NYPD turns to tuition reimbursement to attract and retain recruits, the New York State Police is bringing them in by the droves, officials said.

State police brass said nearly 16,000 qualified applicants - more than 3,000 from the city - signed up for an exam that is offered every three or four years.

Recent NYPD recruiting classes have hovered around 1,100, which is barely enough to cover routine retirements and attrition. The NYPD, which offers exams twice a year, would need classes of about 2,000 to reach its target manpower.

"We are willing to bet that hundreds of those applicants for New York State trooper jobs came from within the ranks of the NYPD where morale is as low as the paychecks," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch.

An NYPD spokesman pointed out that thousands of people also take the test to be a city cop, and that comparing the two numbers - recruits vs. test takers - was like comparing "apples to oranges."

Trooper Al Vasquez, a recruitment officer, said he knew troopers who had left the NYPD for the better salaries of the state police.

"It's basically, 'What do you want to make? What quality of life do you want to have,'" he said.

A trooper's starting salary is $50,374 during academy training compared with the $25,100 NYPD recruits earn for the first six months in the academy.

After 26 weeks of training, the trooper's salary climbs to $61,525, while the NYPD cop's pay rises to just $32,700 after graduation.

After five years, the trooper's salary reaches $77,218 with additional increases beyond five years of service. In comparison, the NYPD cop earns $59,500 after five years.

The state police and the NYPD require 60 college credits or two years of full-time active military service. The NYPD recently began offering $15,000 in student loans over five years to bolster its dissipating ranks.

Lynch said recruits have more financial incentive to sign up at the Port Authority, which reaped about 10,000 recruits in a recent month-long drive.

Port Authority officers start with a salary of $32,361 but make about $83,141 after five years.

The NYPD does not allow its officers to apply at the Port Authority.

tmoore@nydailynews.com