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Time for due process


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  • Time for due process

    Time for due process

    All New Yorkers should be aware that the city is approaching a moment when less than 500 people will have been murdered over the past year, which is the lowest number of homicide victims in more than 40 years. Cab drivers, ready to take their passengers anywhere, will tell you that it has become much safer throughout the entire city than it has been in many years.

    All of that is wonderful, and it is directly connected to the sterling work of our police, who are the best at their job in the nation but whom - even with a proposed contract - the city has yet to agree to compensate on the level they deserve.

    In fact, one could say the police seem to be economically penalized for consistently proving themselves the most productive public servants in our town.

    I think the people of this city should show their appreciation of the NYPD by voicing its well-deserved approval and supporting our cops at every reasonable turn. When the cops are in trouble, do the same thing that you do when you or someone you know is in trouble: Make a phone call.

    Call City Hall and let the administration know that you are behind these remarkable public servants, who are doing their job so well that we have nothing to compare it to in the field of city employment.

    The new contract that has been pushed at the New York City police is the sort of thing that one would associate with a Marx Brothers movie because it pats the seasoned cops on the head while slapping the incoming ones.

    As one veteran cop said, "It's a good deal for me, but it lets the new cops know that the city neither respects nor values them. I know it's going to hurt recruitment because it doesn't take the job seriously."

    The new starting salary will rank the pay of NYPD rookies at No. 185 out of 196 police departments. Before that, our police force was ranked No. 151 on the same list. Incoming police officers will earn $13,500 less in their base salary over the first six years than cops did previously. Under the new agreement, new officers will earn more than $7,000 less than rookies in Suffolk County, the MTA, Port Authority and state police departments.

    The good news is a retroactive pay raise of 10%, which is more than twice what the mayor wanted to give up and covers the period from August 2002 to July 2004. I applaud that, and I understand that the city is just a cheapskate. It always has to face many extended hands every time any workers get a pay raise. But the police should exist in a separate category because they face far greater threats to life and limb far more often than any other city employees.

    One veteran told me that the Public Employment Relations Board, which arbitrated the new contract, must have thought that it had to balance the bitter with the sweet in order to keep people from coming back and asking for more. If the board thought that, it must be populated by fools. Asking for more is the city's unwritten credo because nobody in this town ever thinks they have enough. In the case of the NYPD, however, it is right.

    No one should need to plead the case of the cops in this most expensive town because the statistics say everything that needs to be said. Crime is down, murder is down, the quality of life is higher than it has been in decades, even in the wake of Sept. 11. So, register your support for the police by calling 311 to let Mayor Bloomberg know that you think our officers are doing a great job. That would be fair, and it would make things clear as the summer sun.


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