Wall Street Journal

March 14, 2016 12:00 a.m. ET


Union Poll Finds Morale Low Among NYPD Force

Full results of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association survey expected to be released Tuesday

By ZOLAN KANNO-YOUNGS

KEVIN HAGEN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
About 70% of the police union survey’s respondents said the relationship between the NYPD and public had ‘greatly worsened’ in the past few years. Above, officers in the South Bronx in February.

Many New York Police Department officers said New York City has become less safe under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, according to a survey conducted by the union representing the city’s police officers.

More than 6,000 members of the union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, responded to the online survey, which was conducted over three weeks in February. Eighty-seven percent of the respondents said the city had become “somewhat less safe” or “a lot less safe” in the past two years.

“The results of this survey prove what we’ve been hearing time and time again from members over the past two years—the job is more difficult than ever, the dangers are greater, and morale is extremely low,” said the union’s president, Patrick Lynch. “Our city’s current public-safety policies are not working in support of the women and men who actually patrol the streets.”

The full results of the survey are scheduled to be released on Tuesday.

An NYPD spokesman on Sunday said the department hadn’t received the findings.

“When and if we receive it, we will review it,” he said.

Although crime is down in the city since Mr. de Blasio took office, the survey points to a dispirited police force.

When asked to rank their morale from zero to 10, with zero being the lowest, the average was 2.49.

Seventy percent of the respondents said the relationship between the public and the NYPD had “greatly worsened” in the past few years, and 89% said they would leave the force if offered a job with another law-enforcement agency in the city.

Nearly as many respondents said they would leave for another law-enforcement job even if it were outside the city.

A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, who campaigned on improving community relations with the NYPD, called the findings “highly suspect.”

“We are experiencing historic lows in criminal activity. Murders and shootings are at their lowest in modern history. NYPD is the most effective police force in the country thanks to our officers’ dedication and commitment to their job,” she said.

The union has about 24,000 members. It sent invitations to complete the online survey to the 12,548 members with email addresses on file.

It commissioned research firm McLaughlin & Associates to conduct the survey.

Of the 6,004 respondents, about half said they had worked for the NYPD for 10 years or more. About three-quarters were 18 to 40 years old, and 87% were male.

The geographic areas where they work included all five boroughs, with the most respondents working in Manhattan, as well as small numbers of respondents who work in transit or housing policing.

Write to Zolan Kanno-Youngs at zolan.kanno-youngs@wsj.com