Survey finds solid link between pay and NYPD morale

nypd-car1 -CROPPED
An NYPD car. Photo Credit: Diana Colapietro
An NYPD car.
An NYPD car. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Scott Olson

‘A policeman’s lot is not a happy one,” Gilbert and Sullivan wrote more than a century ago.

Judging from the PBA’s recent survey of 6,000 NYPD cops, who expressed mostly grievance and discontent, little appears to have changed since that iconic line was first uttered in NYC at Fifth Avenue Theatre on Dec. 31, 1879.

Here are some of the survey’s nuggets:

  • 95 percent say NYC is “heading down the wrong track.”
  • 87 percent say NYC has become “less safe” under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • 96 percent say the relationship between the NYPD and the public has worsened.
  • 97 percent say the mayor has “created an environment . . . where criminals feel emboldened to carry guns and use them against civilians and the police.”
  • 97 percent say cops “are reluctant to take action for fear of lawsuits or complaints by the public.”
  • 81 percent say that “new procedures related to the use of stop, question and frisk limit cops from safely and effectively make stops, when necessary.”

Even when a bright spot appeared, the survey’s authors — the firm McLaughlin & Associates — put a damper on it. Although Police Commissioner Bill Bratton received a 66 percent approval rating, the authors wrote: “Commissioner Bratton receives relatively high ratings, but his favorables lack intensity.”

A union spokesman said the survey’s purpose in part was to counter claims by de Blasio and Bratton that police morale was high. “You don’t like people telling you how you feel,” the spokesman said.

Only on Page 37 of 61 pages of survey results do we get a hint of where the cops’ beefs stem from: money — or, more specifically, the lack of it.

“Thirty-five percent of the respondents cited ‘raise/pay’ as the number one change to improve the lives and working conditions,” the survey said. While a labor monitor awarded cops a mere 1 percent pay raise, the City Council voted itself a raise of 32 percent. NYPD cops continue to earn far less than their suburban brethren, and do far more.

So where does the PBA go from here? Unfortunately, the union has no friendly corner to turn to. De Blasio’s poll numbers may be low, but who’s out there right now who can defeat him?