New York Post
March 10, 2005

Cops Heading East

Third of Nassau Class is Ex-NYPD

By PHILIP MESSING

More than one-third of the cops joining the Nassau County police tomorrow quit the ranks of New York's Finest for greener suburban pastures, The Post has learned.

Lured primarily by the prospect of higher pay, 53 of the 144 recruits scheduled to enter the Nassau police academy tomorrow have surrendered their NYPD badges, sources said.

Of these 53 former NYPD cops, four dropped out of the current Police Academy class of 1,757 that started in January.

That bad bit of NYPD news was followed by another bitter pill - 14 other NYPD cops have quit to join a new class of 248 FDNY probationary firefighters who began a 13-week training course this week, sources said.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, termed the "mass exodus" of cops quitting the NYPD a "crisis" that is costing the Big Apple millions of dollars.

"You have people who are leaving positions of authority or rank - whether detective or sergeant - to become a police officer and go down in rank but to go up in pay," Lynch said.

The starting pay for a Nassau recruit is $23,000, but within about six years, they earn $84,979 and the average Nassau cop earns about $100,000, or a bit less than that of an NYPD captain, sources said.

"We have an attrition rate of just 2 percent, which no Fortune 500 can claim," said Paul Browne, chief spokesman for the city force, countering Lynch's mass exodus claim.

The NYPD cops who've left the force "didn't get better jobs, they went to boring jobs," Browne asserted.

"The NYPD has never been more competitive. Over 300 fully qualified candidates ready to go in the last recruit class had to wait for the next one because all the slots were filled," he countered.

Lynch charged that in the past five years, 4,215 members of the NYPD have quit the department for higher-paying jobs, mostly with better-paying police departments or with the FDNY.

"The cost to recruit, screen and train an NYPD cop is $100,000, so the total cost to the city has been more than $420 million. This is money that would be better spent paying a competitive salary in preventing officers from quitting," Lynch fumed.

Browne sharply disputed Lynch's figures, insisting that "many of those who leave drop out because they couldn't compete in the police academy" or "found police work too demanding."