"To Extort And Serve"

The NYPD, thousands of officers short, is having trouble finding and retaining new recruits. One possible reason :

[Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly speculates that the just-graduated class should have been almost double the size it was, and he calls the academy's near-record 16 percent dropout rate "high."...

What happened?

During the last round of contract negotiations, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association promoted the rookie-cop salary cut in exchange for raises for senior serving cops....

Whereupon the PBA took to accusing City Hall of being responsible for the crisis the union itself essentially had created - in the expectation of keeping the higher pay for senior cops as public pressure forced big raises for rookies.

It must be great comfort to the newest members of the 'Thin Blue Line' to know their salaries were cut--by their own colleagues --to make them politically useful.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • M||

    When law-enforcers are rooked, only rookies enforce law.

  • Dave W.||

    Where would the salaries of rookie cops be without the union, if the union simply didn't exist?

    (My best guess is a lot lower than they are now.)

  • ||

    Don't bet on it, Dave, at least after netting out all the costs loaded into the system by the unions for their own support and maintenance.

  • Russ 2000||

    Dave W, thanks for your knowledge of the law of supply and demand.

  • ||

    (My best guess is a lot lower than they are now.)

    As if there's no other competitive opportunities for labor in NYC.

    Dave...if the argument is that the salary is too low to attract sufficient recruits to meet the city's own recruitment goals, how can you possibly argue that it would be lower still without the union?

  • ||

    Truthfully,I have a problem with any pulic employee being in a union.We elect people to set the wages of goverment work.If you want market wages join the private sector.Look at the average pay of federal employees compared to every one else.Much higher pay and almost impossible to fire.

  • ||

    This is just too damned good for snatk!

  • ||

    My problem with police unions, is the marriage between law enforcement and organized crime.

  • ||

    What about federal unions and their links to organized crime,I mean Congress.

  • ||

    It'll be an entire generation of lost McClanes.

  • LarryA||

    Where would the salaries of rookie cops be without the union, if the union simply didn't exist?

    From the story:

    The reason is clear enough: The measly $25,100 starting salary the department pays its rookie cops. Wednesday's new officers can loosen their belts a bit - their salary rises to $32,700 upon graduation - but even that number is painfully far below the $40,000 a year that new recruits were making in 2005.



    Here in Kerrville, Texas we're advertising for new non-union patrol officers at $34,840. We're considered a "training ground" because our salaries are below what many surrounding communities pay. Do I have to remind you that the cost of living in rural Texas is somewhat lower than New York City?

  • LarryA||

    Oh, and the working conditions/survival rates, particularly for LEOs, are higher.

  • Episiarch||

    The pay may be low, but they are compensated with having ridiculous powers over their fellow citizens and being exempt (enforcement-wise) from many laws that the rest of us must follow.

    They should just STFU. People become cops for the power, not the money.

  • ||

    People become cops for the power, not the money.

    Power doesn't feed your family. Unless, of course, you're corrupt. So let's not give extra incentives for cops to be corrupt.

  • ||

    Cops are like lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen. There are plenty of decent people in each profession, but there's something about each that attracts and rewards the scum of the earth.

  • Episiarch||

    Cops are like lawyers, politicians, and used car salesmen. There are plenty of decent people in the first and the third profession, but there's something about each, especially politics, that attracts and rewards the scum of the earth.

    Fixed that for you.

  • ||

    OK, am I the only one who thinks that the "there, fixed that for you" joke is getting awfully old?

  • Dave W.||

    Dave...if the argument is that the salary is too low to attract sufficient recruits to meet the city's own recruitment goals, how can you possibly argue that it would be lower still without the union?

    I guess I should have been clearer. I think the rookie salaries are much higher than they would be if there were no poice unions at all.

    If Kerrville, Texas decides to hire non-union, they will have to pay a premium bcs they compete with unionized departments at unionized compensation and job security levels.

    If NYC decided to go non-union, they would face the same thing.

    However, if a national law passed tomorrow that said no government employees could unionize, then salaries and job security for police would go down, I think (and like I said, that is only my best guess).

    As far as whether it would be a good or a bad thing if there were no police unions nationwide: I am undecided. I am open to the idea that it would be a good thing, and that lower wages for police would be a good thing. I mean, my tax money supports these people, and I certainly don't have no union.

  • ||

    OK, am I the only one who thinks that the "there, fixed that for you" joke is getting awfully old awesome?

    There, fixed that for you :)

  • Rhywun||

    I think the rookie salaries are much higher than they would be if there were no poice unions at all.

    That may have been the case a few years ago, but the point of the article is that the union deliberately cut rookie salaries in order to give themselves a big pay raise. The dramatic drop in the number of recruits would seem to indicate that they cut rookie salaries to a point well below market rate.

  • ||

    It could be just a strategy by the union to have their cake and eat it too.

    You trade the salaries of guys who aren't yet union members for an increase in your own salary, then use the ensuing shortage in new recruits to get the city raise the rookie salary above its original level.

  • ||

    OK, am I the only one who thinks that the "there, fixed that for you" joke something is getting awfully old something?

    There, neutered that for you. :)

  • LarryA||

    If Kerrville, Texas decides to hire non-union, they will have to pay a premium bcs they compete with unionized departments at unionized compensation and job security levels.

    The only unionized department we compete with is San Antonio PD. Their monthly pay rates:

    Police Cadet $2,300.00, Probationary Police Officer $2,783.00, Police Officer - 1st Year $3,204.00, Police Officer - 3rd Year $3,855.00, Police Officer - 5th Year $4,114.00

    So yes, the Kerrville PD pays $34,840 instead of $38,448. Union dues eat the difference.

    The officers we lose typically transfer to other non-union departments for higher pay, not SAPD.

    And the SAPD union has recently suffered several corruption/embezzling scandals.

  • M||

    Stevo, you don't have to put any emailoid text in the designated slot anymore (I was expecting a cool website *sniff*).

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement