New York Post
May 20, 2008

KELLY: DON'T COUNT ON REACHING MANPOWER GOAL

By TOM TOPOUSIS

Just hours before an arbitration board ruled to boost cops' salaries, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly yesterday warned that the NYPD's recruitment problems meant it would fall short of the already dramatically lowered manpower goal he set just two months ago.

The commish said he expects the salary boost - including increasing rookie cops' salaries from a paltry $25,000 to nearly $36,000 - will make it easier for him to recruit more cops.

But even with higher salaries, Kelly said, he won't be able to bring the force up to its current maximum until a new class of cops is hired in January, at the earliest.

Facing budget cuts ordered by Mayor Bloomberg, Kelly in March slashed the headcount for cops by 1,000 to 36,838.

But he said yesterday that because of attrition, he now has 1,800 openings - and only 1,200 recruits to fill those slots in July.

In fact, Kelly said, as of yesterday, the city had 35,700 police officers - a far cry from the 40,800 cops on duty in 2001, and the lowest level of manpower since the early 1990s.

"Would I like to have more resources? Yes," Kelly told the City Council's Public Safety Committee while insisting he still has the manpower to keep crime down.

"We believe that we'll average about 36,000 police officers for the next two fiscal years."

tom.topousis@nypost.com