Newsday
Updated March 14, 2016 12:00 AM


NYPD officers say NYC is less safe, morale low, survey shows

By   anthony.destefano@newsday.com

    
Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.  
A survey of NYPD cops shows morale is low and many think the city is less safe than two years ago.  

HIGHLIGHTS

bulletPolice officers questioned in poll say suspects are more likely to resist arrest

bulletPBA president says results ‘prove the job is more difficult than ever’

 

NYPD rank and file officers are suffering from low morale and believe the city is less safe now than it was two years ago, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Patrolmen’s Benovolent Association of its members.

The survey also revealed that almost all officers who responded believe suspects are now more likely to resist arrest, a factor making police work more difficult, according to the PBA.

Unlike an opinion poll that randomly selects people to respond, the PBA survey was sent over a three-week period in February to all 12,548 union members who had emails, about half of the current membership of more than 24,000. Some 6,004 members completed the survey, a response rate of nearly 50 percent that the PBA said was “very high.”

“The results of this survey prove what we’ve been hearing time and time again from members over the past two years,” said PBA President Patrick Lynch in a statement. “The job is more difficult than ever, the dangers are greater, and morale is extremely low.”

The consulting firm McLaughlin & Associates conducted the survey. In a summary provided to reporters, the firm noted that since no sampling was done, it was not appropriate to report a statistical margin of error, usually seen in other opinion polls.

A summary of some results of the survey were made available to reporters over the weekend and the full findings, which include answers to questions about Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton and other public officials, will be disclosed at a news conference Tuesday.

In terms of their environment, 87 percent of the officers who responded to the survey believed New York City was “less safe” in the past two years, with the majority or 55 percent saying it was “a lot less safe,” according to the summary. In terms of the relationship between the NYPD and the public, things have worsened over the past few years, said 96 percent of the police respondents.

Cops who took the survey rated morale at a very low level, ranking it a 2.49 on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the best, the summary noted. That ranking seemed fairly consistent among cops of all ages, gender and tenure. In a result with possible implications for recruiting efforts of police departments in Nassau and Suffolk County, nearly 90 percent of officers said they would leave the NYPD for another nearby law enforcement agency with better pay.

In an age where police scuffles with suspects have been fodder for smartphone videos that have gone viral on the web, 96 percent of cops who took the survey agreed that arrest suspects are now more likely to “actively resist” police.

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis Sunday said the department had not seen the survey and declined to comment.

In the past, Bratton has acknowledged that when he took over as commissioner in 2014, cop morale was poor and he was addressing the issue. He also has said the department was taking steps to improve relations between police and the communities they serve.