New York Police Department (NYPD) officers
overwhelmingly dislike their jobs, believe that New York City is increasingly unsafe, and feel that suspects are much more likely to resist arrest, according to a new poll conducted at the behest of the NYPD's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA).
Although previews of the poll were released to reporters over the weekend, the full results will be shared at a press conference tomorrow.
Over 6,000 of the 24,000 PBA members completed the survey, conducted by consulting firm McLaughlin & Associates. The New York Daily News notes, "The poll is difficult to put into context because it's the first of its kind commissioned by the union."
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. The understaffing, inadequate training, low pay and lack of support has had a chilling effect on police officers across the city.
According to the poll, 96 percent of PBA members believe police and community relations have worsened, and 70 person indicated that relations had "greatly worsened." Over 86 percent said they would be less likely to recommend the NYPD as a career option to a family member, and when asked to use a scale of 1 to 10 to rate their happiness on the job, the rate of morale averaged about 2.49.
Opinions about the state of community relations are one thing, but 87 percent of respondents also said that New York has become a "less safe" place over the past two years, with 55 percent calling it "a lot less safe."
The numbers simply don't bear this out. Crime, including violent crime, continues to trend downward in NYC, and the Big Apple remains by far the safest of the US' five major metropolitan areas (including Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia).
Mayor Bill de Blasio, widely reviled by many of the rank-and-file for comments he made in late 2014 about how he instructed his biracial son to "be very careful" if faced with an "encounter with a police officer," has yet to comment on the poll, but a spokesman from his office called the results "highly suspect."
Taking a macro view beyond New York City, the narrative that there is an ongoing "War on Cops" is also not backed up by data, with 2015 proving to be one of the safest years for American police officers in history, with violence against cops and violent crime overall down nationwide.
In December 2014, Reason TV covered a pro-NYPD rally (which inevitably attracted counter-protesters) outside City Hall. Many supporters of the police donned T-shirts reading "I Can Breathe," which was meant to mock the shirts worn by activists protesting the death of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after a being placed in a banned chokehold after police targeted him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.