It appears morale is low among the rank and file in the NYPD with statistics now showing resignations are higher than normal — and union officials are taking notice. NY1 criminal justice reporter Dean Meminger filed the following report.
Hundreds of police officers packed into a Queens catering hall this week to find out about their retirement benefits. The police union says it's the largest group they have ever had for a pension seminar, 1,200 people. The union says it's a sign many officers may be ready to walk away from the job.
"That's going to be a brain drain on the department, the experience we have on the street is now leaving," said PBA President Pat Lynch.
After 20 years as a New York City officer, a person can retire with a full pension no matter their age. Lynch says many officers are fed up with the job and feel they do not have the backing of the mayor and the deaprtment.
"Besides those police officers that are planning to retire it is hundreds of younger police officers who are leaving for higher paying jurisdictions. that's just wrong," noted Lynch. "We are the lowest paid police department locally."
The starting salary for an NYPD patrol officer is $43,000 a year. That goes up to $87,000 after five years.
The union and the city are currently negotiating a contract and pay raises are the big issue.
A big reason the police union is once again blasting the de Blasio administration.
According to union statistics, in each of the last two years about 1,500 officers retired.
That's actually down from prior years.
In terms of officers who resign and just walk away without a pension, those numbers are going up. The union says in 2011, 169 officers resigned. Last year, that number jumped up to 517.
"We hear everyone say we're the safest big city in America. That didn't happen by magic. It's because of the women and men that are in our radio cars. Those who are planning on leaving the job now," Lynch said.
Some officers who did not want to appear on camera say they worry with body cameras and the neighborhood policing strategy, one wrong move and they could be fired.
Others say after 20 year of patrolling the streets, it's just time to go.
"These newer kids are going to have a harder time learning. They don't have the senior officer staying on and teaching them how to do the job the right way. And how to lead them into doing it smartly. So it's going to affect the city big," said one NYPD officer.