When people in any company or business start leaving at an alarming rate, concerns regarding that business must be addressed. An example that many might not consider a company even though it plays a vital role in our very large geographical area of Queens is the New York Police Department.
Here exist some very frightening statistics. In 2003 alone, the NYPD lost 1,020 members. These officers who have resigned are highly trained and not easy to replace. And these negative figures do not just apply to this year; the NYPDs track record leaves much to be desired.
If we trace the statistics for the last decade, starting around 1991, the annual resignation average stood at about 508. Keep in mind that these are not just retirements but also those who have quit.
More than 3,000 officers have quit in just the last four years. So why is business bad at the NYPD? In speaking with several former Queens members of the department (who wish to remain anonymous), I learned it appears there is a brighter sky in other sectors such as the Port Authority and in other various counties or even the private security market which is doing rather well.
Lets look at reality. If officers put in five years at the Port Authority, they work their way into a position of four days on and two days off with a comfortable $72,000 salary, not counting overtime opportunities. Now, what does our police force get here in Queens in its daily compromising of safety? Officers start with a $36,000 salary. If they are married and have just one to two children, how can they afford to live?
Is it any wonder so many officers move to Suffolk County? Yes, NYPD officers after five years move up to $55,000 a year, but that is still nearly a whopping 24 percent less than their peers at the Port Authority. Would you change your job if you could do much the same work with nearly a 24 percent increase in pay?
We are losing very important talent at a very critical time. With threats of terrorism and rising crime due to a very weak economy, the demand for a well-staffed and trained police force is an absolute necessity. The success and future growth of business in Queens as well as all of New York City demands nothing less. This should be City Hall business agenda No. 1 for this new year of 2004.
Joe Palumbo is the fund manager for The Palco Group, Inc. and can be reached at www.palcog
©2004 Community News Group
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