New York Post
April 27, 2002

NEW CLASS OF HEROES

By ADAM MILLER and ERIC LENKOWITZ

  
SOLEMN OATH: Port Authority police grads are sworn in yesterday as the bistate agency welcomes 83 new cops — 72 of them ex-city officers.
— NYP: D. Rentas
   

The Port Authority Police Department, which lost 37 officers and commanders in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, took another giant step toward rebuilding yesterday when 83 new cops joined its ranks.

But the PAPD's gain is the NYPD's loss - 72 of the new cops used to be members of New York's Finest who left for ultimately higher salaries.

While PAPD cops only make $32,361 to start, they earn $70,344 in five years. That's nearly $20,000 more than an NYPD cop. Starting pay for a city officer is $31,305.

"This is a Port Authority police class born of tragedy and heroism, so we must keep the memories of all who perished in our hearts," said Patrick Lynch, head of the city Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

The new officers joined the PA after an accelerated, eight-week training program.

Former NYPD cop Natalie Rivera, 28, said her decision to join the ranks of the PAPD was motivated entirely by money.

"We can earn so much more as a Port Authority cop than we can in the NYPD," Rivera said after the graduation at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack.

"It's sad, but that's the way it is. I'm thrilled to be with the Port Authority now."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said he understands the NYPD will lose cops to other forces: "People are going to leave. That's understandable. We wish them well."

Port Authority Chairman Jack Sinagra said the new cops will go a long way toward rebuilding the PAPD, which on Sept. 11 suffered the largest-ever loss of life by a police department on a single day.

"The courageous people who make up the PAPD showed the world on Sept. 11 that they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the lives of others," he said.