Oct. 19, 2016, 12:33 AM
LAURA DIMON, DENIS SLATTERY
|Usually only about 250 to 300 officers turn out for the event which is held four times a year. (LAURA DIMON/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)|
More than 800 of New York’s Finest looking to hang up their shields and shelve their nightsticks attended a pension seminar Tuesday in Queens, according to organizers.
The possibility of an NYPD exodus comes as morale among members of the force is at rock bottom.
The dangers officers face are growing, the relationship with the public has worsened and tensions with City Hall remain high over stalled contracts and low pay, according to Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch.
“These police officers are disrespected in word and in deed,” Lynch told the Daily News. “When you sit down at the bargaining table, they offer these heroes zeroes.”
Typically between 250 and 300 officers attend the event, which is held four times a year. Roughly 853 showed up Tuesday.
A line of cops crowded the sidewalk outside Antun’s in Queens Village on Tuesday evening before the seminar started.
“I think with the amount of stress and the things we go through, 20 years is enough,” one officer with 15 years on the job said as he exited the meeting. “I mean, you can’t put a set amount on putting our lives on the line every day, but our pay is a joke.”
City officials have repeatedly disputed cops’ claims about pay, saying that, including benefits, New York officers earn 146% of the average salary for police in large U.S. cities.
One attendee at the pension program, who would only identify himself as Tony, said he wasn’t surprised by the high turnout.
The 14-year veteran who works patrol in Brooklyn South said cops aren’t adequately compensated for the danger they face.
“For me, my biggest concern is safety,” Tony told The News. “It’s not the same job anymore.”
A March PBA online membership poll found 87% of cops believe the city is “less safe” since Mayor de Blasio took over two years ago.
Lynch said there’s a very simple solution to the problem.
“Offer us a decent raise that offers us a market rate of pay,” he said. “We just want to take care of the people on the corner rather than worrying about putting food on the table.”