More NYPD cops are abandoning their blue uniforms before getting their pensions, the city’s largest police union charged on Tuesday.
Citing data from the New York City Police Pension Fund, union officials said 506 cops resigned from the 35,000-member force in 2016 — about a 20% jump from the 415 who handed in their papers in 2015.
The number of resignations has increased each year since 2011 when 169 cops turned in their shields. That number nearly tripled last year, records show.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, said the Pension Fund report bolsters his belief that cops are leaving the department in droves.
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“Eight out of 10 PBA members said in a survey that they would leave the job if they could,” Lynch said in a statement. “The latest resignation numbers are proof that many are doing just that, often to take a better-paying law enforcement job here in the New York City area.”
“New York City cannot afford to allow all of this talent, experience and investment in training walk out the door,” he said, demanding the city provide cops with better pay, benefits and conditions.
Mayor de Blasio said Lynch’s argument is “a classic union play” as contracts are negotiated.
“We’ve seen it many times before,” de Blasio said at a Tuesday press conference. “The mission of the PBA, sadly, is often to denigrate the work of our own police force, which I've never understood, and to lower morale rather than improve it, which I’ve never understood.”
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Taking into account an officer’s pension, pay and benefits, “we have one of the highest compensated police forces in the United States of America,” he added.
The NYPD has long accused other law enforcement agencies — particularly the Nassau County and Suffolk County police departments — of poaching young cops after they graduate from the Police Academy.
The starting salary for an NYPD cop is $41,975, officials said. While starting salaries in Nassau and Suffolk are about the same or less, the two Long Island police forces have massive wage increases in which cops can earn over $100,000 within 10 years.
Last week, the city filed civil suits against both the Nassau and Suffolk police departments, demanding more than $1 million in compensation for training 31 officers who left for Long Island within two years of joining the NYPD in 2014 and 2015.
State law allows police departments to seek compensation for training if a cop leaves for another law enforcement agency within their first three years.
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