New York Post
December 4, 2002

LOW PAY HAS COPS QUITTING AT ALARMING RATE

By STEVE DUNLEAVY

BEFORE Mike Bloomberg decided he wanted to be Prince of the City, he knew he didn't become a mogul on his lonesome.

In part, like most brilliant company chiefs, he did it by keeping his friends close and his well-trained talent closer.

And yet, scary new statistics on the city's cops suggest Mayor Mike forgot that lesson.

Latest figures show that in the first nine months of 2002, 1,018 highly trained cops resigned.

Now, that is 61/2 times the 159 cops who resigned in 1991 and more than twice the annual average of 508 since 1991.

Now, these men and women weren't retiring, they fled to greener pastures like the Port Authority, law-enforcement in other counties or into the booming private-security market.

Pat Lynch, president of the Patrolman's Benevolent Association, said of these shocking figures:

"New York City is losing valuable police resources at a time when the demand for police services, particularly in the area of anti-terrorism work, is skyrocketing.

"There aren't enough police officers to meet the demand, and that's putting this city at an unacceptable risk. Something must be done and done quickly to avoid sending New York City back on the road to the bad old days of high crime, when families and businesses fled in record numbers."

Under fire, a general never cuts his infantry.

Officer Brian Puglissi, 25, a Port Authority cop, is typical of the crisis.

"I was 21/2 years as a New York City cop in Greenpoint. When a Port Authority job opened, I couldn't afford not to take it," said Puglissi.

"If money as a city cop was more compatible, I wouldn't have quit. The Port Authority is a class operation, but still, I would have stayed on as a city cop if I could have afforded it."

The figures speak for themselves. After five years on the job, a Port Authority cop makes $70,000 a year working four days on and two days off. At this stage, they also get an additional eight hours overtime per week.

After six years as a city patrolman, working five straight days, the salary is $50,000.

City cops start at $34,000 a year. Say, if you're married and have two young kids, who can live here on $34,000 a year?

And that of course, is why so many young cops live in Suffolk County with anything from a three- to four-hour daily commute.

Some job.

Over the past four years, more than 3,000 officers have quit the NYPD.

Look, I know there's a budget crunch, but we are decimating our first line of defense. Mayor Mike wouldn't do it to his company in the old days, and he shouldn't be doing it to our company, the NYPD, now.