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  • WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    NY COP FORUM NOVEMBER 2000

    How is the MORALE on the NYPD?

    RESPONSES:


    As a retired M.O.S. (member of the service). I thought moral was very bad over 10 years ago, but with people like the Mayor who clearly USED our men and women for his own gain and gave them LESS than any mayor in the history of the NYPD, how Could their moral be any thing close to good? NYC Cops are paid LESS than all big cities except D.C.cops who are paid even less. I sincerely hope the next mayor will give them a fair raise in pay, and of course better medical without a "$10 CoPymt"!

    [email protected]


    Morale is in the dumper because the numbers mindset still prevails. Now this administration is back on quality of life kick. This can only translate into another exercise of chasing old alcoholics off their own stoops for the sake of just one more beer summons. More adverse community relations, more bad press, more aggravation, same salary, old story.

    [email protected]


    The morale of the NYPD is very low. Being out of the academy since Feb of 2000, I had high expectations of being a productive member of then NYPD, but after seeing how the job really is, it is no wonder that so many cops are upset with the way things are going. No matter what you do, you are always wrong. The community seems to feel that every little thing is a problem for the police. CCRB is used way too much. Where else in the country do police officers have to think about arresting someone or even talking to someone where any criticism could cause a negative impact on a cops career. The city is also to blame for not compensating police officers equally in pay to surrounding areas. If the city and the bosses on the job think anything is going to get better, they must start to make the job look more appealing. I know that anyone I speak to who is interested in joining this job, I try to steer away.

    [email protected]


    I am a New York City Police Officer and I am wondering why the
    Mayor has not helped the PBA or its Police Officers. For the last few years the mayor has been very enthusiastic about the work that the police department and its officers accomplished. The mayor is always looking for new ways to help the department keep crime down. He has definitely been effective in helping the department. But it's the police officers that put themselves in the front line of that crime that happens daily. The officers are the ones that made those crime rates drop so rapidly, not the mayor. The caring and dedication of being a New York City Police Officer is what made the difference. I do not want to write another letter stating how police officers risk their lives to help people. Most people already know that we protect lives. The question is does the mayor know what we really do? Does he know what its like to be under the pressure of hearing gun shots 5 feet away from you? Maybe the Mayor should put on a bulletproof vest and a uniform and head to East New York Brooklyn and let him here the shots that I hear every night. Let him hear the screaming of another officer calling for help because we are understaffed and need more competent officers on the street. I dare the mayor to work one week in the highest crime area of New York City. After he has gone through one week of real police work maybe than he can help the officers get better benefits and treatment that they so deserve. Why does the Mayor not help the police officers receive a fair contract with the city? Why does he not help the families of officers? Why does he not help officers achieve better benefits? Why is he pushing this contract to the next mayor? Why is he not being a mayor? Why? Now ask if Morale is up?

    Officer Anonymous


    Morale is very low. Poor pay... poor working conditions. The press and the people do not support the police. We are on the brink of federal monitoring and the new police commissioner is concerned about posters on the wall and working toilets. He has also made it known that he is looking to cut overtime...that will really destroy what little morale that is left.

    [email protected]


    More work, more responsibility, less crime and a lot of 0's add up to low morale. Lucrative retirement (especially in another state) will lead to a mass exodus starting in 2002.

    [email protected]


    I am currently a NYC police officer and I feel the overall morale in the NYPD is very low. Although I think our new commissioner is doing a good job so far and is improving morale somewhat, the never ending morale problem is our pay rate and lack of the pay increases we deserve. Another morale killer was the recent election win by Hillary Clinton, who we all know is not pro-cop. The media is all over us with negative publicity and as a result crime is inching up once again. Cops are afraid to do their job. We have politicians and prosecutors who are calling for federal monitors and stricter disciplinary actions against cops. All these anti-cop liberals need to realize that the more they bash cops the less we are going to fight crime and in the end they lose out because crime is going to reach the levels of the Dinkins Era.


    [email protected]


    As a 14 year veteran of the NYPD and having spent the majority of that time on patrol, I believe that the demands put on those officers (handling all types of radio runs, dealing with all types of people and their attitudes, and activity demands) is disproportionate with the salary we are paid and more importantly the mental, physical and personal stresses are very unhealthy. Therefore, from what I have personally experienced and the conversations have had with other officers, I think moral is poor within the rank and file of the NYCPD. It stands to reason that the recruitment effort results are also poor. Word of mouth is the best way to recruit new officers, not putting 10 million dollars into an advertising campaign. Maybe if more police Officers were happy at their job, they would encourage others to become one.

    Anonymous


    I think the morale is at it's lowest! We get zeroes for contracts, the "job" it totally politicized. I thought I would stay 30 yrs but now, if I stay after 20, because of "Political Correctness" whether guilty or innocent, I could be indicted, possibly sent to prison for someone's political gain. I see orders, people getting suspended left and right. After the "BIG" classes of '81,'82, '83 leave you'll have a police force about half, and half of that half will be "rubber gunned". A wonderful career/job...once. Now, God Help us All!

    [email protected]


    I have been retired for almost five years and from what I have been hearing it is at an all-time low. Constant political pressure coupled with almost non-existent raises during the Giuliani administration are probably most responsible.

    Anonymous


    This is somewhat of an excerpt from a school paper wherein I tried to offer insight into the job, as well as my feelings: One occupation, for which I have had the pleasure to hold, was that of a New York City Police Officer. This position has more than its share of exploitation, frustration and misunderstanding. I learned this the first day in the Police Academy, where we were forced to wear cheap attire, not in expense, but in appearance, looking like something out of a PeeWee Herman movie. Was this done to build character, or to break spirit? Who knows, either way, back in the 80s, there was no love loss for cops, and walking to and from work, wearing a silly, tacky, uniform, left us open to a great deal of ridicule. And ridicule, we were told, had to be tolerated at all cost. So we dealt with the taunts, not only from the mutts but also from some instructors who were to be our mentors. One day walking down the to catch the "M" train on Myrtle Avenue, in Ridgewood, my friend and fellow academy cop heard a great deal of commotion. Cops, with guns drawn were everywhere. Could we help? We could be no more help, than a hindrance. They were looking for someone who shot two detectives, killing Detective Anthony Vendetti. Hey this was my neighborhood; they don't shot cops here. Finding out it was mob related, I remember thinking, "I thought they don't shoot cops". Now I going to be stationed somewhere far from home, in a place where they probably do shoot cops. Now I wondering, "Did I pick the right job?" After the self-imposed mockery, in our controlled Academy environment, we were given our first assignment, the July 1986 Bicentennial celebration. There was no time to issue us commands; our homes were street corners instead of precincts. Nevertheless, we felt like knights in armor as we lined up ready to make the tourists feel safe. The bosses, the Sergeants who held rosters, told us to man the streets, but take no action unless someone was dying or about to be killed. I was stationed near the West-side piers, across from the USS Intrepid. At this location, there was a lot of activity, from whores, drunks, and drugs, to illegal vendors selling everything. Remembering the threats of "Command Disciplines" for any actions out-side of a murder, I just watched. My inaction, our compliance, must have been sanctioned by the gods of One Police Plaza because the bosses, our Sergeants, Lieutenants, and Captains saw nothing as well. Working this day, in its twelfth hour, began to take its toll, so I leaned up against a wall, as I watched the show. Within a minute, a car sped up on the sidewalk, almost hitting me. I wanted to put a bullet through the windshield, as I pressed my body up against the wall in self-preservation. It was Inspections. I was threatened with a complaint for leaning on a wall. Thankfully, the Lieutenant in charge of my detail intervened. After they left, he took me on the side, and walked me to the local hotel. Once there, he advised me to take a seat. Sitting there I thought; "What is going on? I work twelve hours on my feet, Inspections is maybe working eight hours in a car, and they have nothing better to do?" Rationalizing I thought, "I'll take my seat and stay off the street. I was not doing anything productive there anyway." After the celebration, six days of twelve-hour tours, hiding from the likes of inspection units who would rip me for being tired, I was issued a temporary assignment in an NSU (Neighborhood Stabilization Unit). This is where they put you before you get a precinct, a home. It was the NYPD's form of on-the-job-training. Feeling better about having a place to hang my uniform, I thought, "Now we could make a difference". I could be no further from the truth. In NSU, we were given posts on main streets and at busy intersections. We were told to keep people and traffic moving, but not to leave the street or corner we were assigned. What they, they wanted was to keep the drug dealers and their deals out of sight and off highly visible areas. Late one night, having the luxury of a high crime, dangerous, previous "cop shot" foot post, I had a partner. Tired of hearing the residents, those who paid our salary complain about the drugs being sold around the corner in front of their homes, we ventured forth. As soon as we turned the corner, we could see that the activity was rampant. Moving closer, we crouched behind a large garbage bin, poised to "make a difference". Within a few seconds, a bright light had shown on us, from a slow moving car and from a load speaker we were summoned. As I approached the car, stepping to the side of the blinding glow, I wanted to rip into the idiot for exposing us to those who would not think twice of killing us. Instead, as I closed, seeing the white shirt, and shiny gold shield of the Duty Captain, I knew what was coming. The expected threat of a "Command Discipline" was issued for being off post. He could not care about the complaints we heard throughout the night, those saying we were not doing our jobs, allowing drugs to be sold near their houses and children. He was sent for one thin only, to make sure we were on post, no exceptions. Those paying his salary, the brass of One Police Plaza were riding him like a wild stallion. We were not the knights we thought ourselves to be, we were just political pawns in a pretend war on crime and drugs. However, one thing became clear that night, we had no friends on the street. The division had begun and it was the dealers, the criminals, the residents, the politics, and us. Feeling extremely alienated, my partner and I put the first brick in the "blue wall", before walking back to our NSU

    [email protected]


    Terrible. There is none. It is no longer a profession. Its has become just a job that everyone wants to leave as soon as possible

    Anonymous


    MORAL IS TERRIBLE, AT LEAST IN THE NARCOTICS DIVISION. THEY ARE DEMANDING MORE ARRESTS, DENYING DAYS OFF, AND CONSTANTLY THREATENING DETECTIVES WITH TRANSFERs AS WELL AS PILING ON THE PAPER WORK AND SENDING US TO DETAIL AFTER DETAIL. THEN THEY WANT TO KNOW WHY YOU DON'T HAVE A CONFIDENTIAL INFORMANT, A GANG AND WHY AREN'T ALL YOUR KITES CLOSED. THESE DETECTIVES AND THEIR SUPERVISORS ARE FED UP AND VERY TIRED. NOTHING WILL BE DONE ABOUT IT UNTIL SOMEONE GETS HURT OUT THERE FROM BEING SO EXHAUSTED. ALL EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT IS HOW LONG THEY HAVE LEFT BEFORE THEY CAN RETIRE.

    [email protected]


    I have been retired since 1992, but all of the guys and gals that I have spoken to lately say that morale really s**ks

    [email protected]


    EDITORIAL OPINION

    As citizens of the City of New York, should we be concerned for the "morale" of our cops? We live in a fool's paradise if we are not so concerned. The police officers of the NYPD need our support now. They have been left behind in the great economic miracle that has renewed our great City. The wealth that the global economy has brought to New York is displayed everywhere. In the canyons of Manhattan, great temples to wealth have risen glorifying the power of finance. Now that "quality of life" has been attained that nourishes business and culture, the credit for that "rebirth" or nenaissance must not be lost.
    The men and women of the NYPD must receive the recognition that they deserve. They must receive the just compensation for what they have accomplished. Will generations that succeed us say: "They knew the price of everything, but the value of nothing"?

    Do management styles effect morale? Let's look at the record. In 1992, crime on the streets of the City of New York was a disgrace. The morale of the NYPD was poor. We talked of the need for strong leadership. With the support of the rank and file of the NYPD, Rudolph Giuliani was elected as Mayor. He appointed William Bratton as Police Commissioner and great changes were made that restored the morale. The police were allowed to do their job for the first time in memory. Cops, who had been frustrated by a dysfunctional criminal justice system, were led by a determined Mayor and Police Commissioner. They succeeded beyond all expectations.

    Management styles are critical to the success of any organization. They range from the autocratic, democratic and paternalistic, to the laissez-faire styles. The autocratic style is the most effective when time is of the essence and the needs of production far outweigh the needs of the employees. The crime that was engulfing our city required such a management concept. We needed so-called "tough guys" in positions of leadership in the upper ranks of the NYPD. We got them.
    They were very effective during those days when the crime rate was turned around. The rank and file of the NYPD could see results. "The Job" was finally backing them up in the street. Morale on the NYPD soared. The media praised the cops as quality of life was restored to our streets. Under the "Safe Streets Act", thousands of cops were appointed to the NYPD.

    As the quality of life was restored to the streets and crime was drastically reduced, the 40,000 plus NYPD was still led by the "tough guy" style of management. Did we still need autocratic bosses with aggressive management styles? How do you lead veteran cops who have turned the tide in the battle against drug dealers and other criminals? Can you motivate such cops to enforce such quality of life violations such as spitting on the sidewalk or jaywalking?


    Any student of management knows the answer to that question. When morale is high, cops will perform magnificently even under autocratic leadership. It is not difficult to lead highly motivated troops. The problem arises when morale plummets to the present state. We don't need the "tough guy" style now. I can tell you this from decades in police work. Woe to those in police management who can't or won't recognize that morale is vital to the mission of the NYPD.

    Police managers who try to balance the needs of the job with the needs of their cops sometimes are viewed with disdain by some autocratic managers. They are viewed as "too close to the troops" or "not team players". The autocratic leaders know full well that if they portray themselves as fully committed to the organization, their careers are likely to benefit. Many times, it is not a good career move to champion the needs of the cops. However, when morale is poor, the autocratic leaders begin to have problems meeting organization goals.

    There is a feeling among the rank and file of the NYPD that there will be a great "exodus" of cops who are due to retire in the next few years. Is this what will cause the City to increase the salaries of cops? The NYPD has over 40,000 members. The crime rate has been cut to historical levels. Civil lawsuits against the NYPD have risen to unacceptable levels. There is a threat of Federal oversight of the NYPD. Is it logical to conclude that the City of New York will give large increases in pay without a hiring freeze or downsizing of the entire NYPD? Look to private industry for a clue to that question.
    In a climate of mergers and acquisitions and resulting downsizing and layoffs in the private sector, is it likely that the City of New York will not follow suit? During the fiscal crisis of the 70's, thousands of cops were laid-off. Negative criticism of the NYPD has tarnished the public image of a great police department. Who will champion the cops during any future fiscal crisis?

    A police officer with over 20 years service is paid over $50,000 per year. That salary must come out of the annual budget of the City of New York. When that same officer retires, his pension is paid out from the NYC Police Pension that at the present time is fully funded. The recruit who replaces the retiring officer is paid at a much lower rate for the first years of his career. Is the City of New York motivated to retain a higher-salaried officer? Thus, the silence that is deafening from City Hall.

    What many fear is that when fiscal considerations result in lower pay for cops, or a freeze in hiring, or a general downsizing of the NYPD, we will backslide into crime and poor quality of life for our City.

    Many members of the NYPD are critical of Mayor Giuliani. They feel that he has not kept faith with them. Pay is the key issue.
    He is currently defending the NYPD against Federal oversight. His term of office ends next year. The Mayoral Campaign will begin in 2001. It will be interesting to see how his potential successors address the problem of morale on the NYPD.


    GOD BLESS

    Be Safe Wear Your Vest

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