The New York Times

August 12, 1999

Citing Recruitment Lag, Police Union leader Says Pay Is Too Low

By Michael Cooper

The union representing New York City police officers said yesterday that the results of the Police Department's $10 million recruitment drive were disappointing so far and charged that the city did not pay its officers enough to attract qualified candidates.

The department started what it described as its "largest recruitment drive ever" to try to attract more city residents to the police force after it was criticized as being unrepresentative of the city's racial composition in the wake of the shooting of Amadou Diallo on Feb. 4.

But so far, fewer than 8,000 people have applied for a written exam scheduled for Oct. 2, which is the first step toward becoming a police officer. The application deadline is Aug. 27.

In the past, more than 20,000 people usually signed up for the exams. Department officials have said they are not worried by the low numbers because most people apply just before the deadline.

Yesterday, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, Patrick J. Lynch, who has had cordial relations with Police Commissioner Howard Safir since he took office in July, issued a statement that he called "an opening salvo in the upcoming contract negotiations."

"Apparently, very few qualified people are interested in a job that pays so little to start and, even after 20 years, pays about $20,000 a year less than police departments in the surrounding suburbs," the statement said. The starting salary is $34,970 a year.

Marilyn Mode, a Police Department spokeswoman, would only say, "The Police Commissioner has met with the new president of the P.B.A. and discussed at length ways they can improve the benefits for police officers."