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Friday, April 11, 2008

An SPD Reality Check

posted by on April 11 at 11:39 AM

The Times and the PI have been following up on the piece I wrote a few weeks ago about SPD’s staffing problems.

The dailies have been trumpeting the department’s supposed success of SPD’s recent recruitment drive in New York, but things aren’t going as well as SPD would have you believe.

From the Times:


SPD officials say they’ve received 750 applicants, including 163 of New York’s finest, who will take the test April 19 at New York University.

The turnout is unprecedented so much so that the department actually had to quit taking applications, said Officer Monique Avery, who said she had expected about 70 people to sign up for the test.

Seattle would like to hire 90 officers this year, and at least 65 each year through 2011, said police Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer.

From the PI:

About 200 applicants, including about 20 NYPD officers, have signed up to take Seattle’s written exam, offered April 19 at New York University

In 2006, it took 33 applicants for SPD to hire one officer, so there’s no reason the department should have stopped taking applications.

Two years ago, SPD received 2,173 recruit applications. Only 877 of those applicants actually took the department’s written test, and only 412 passed. After additional testing and background checks, only 65 recruits were eligible for jobs, and SPD only hired 32 new officers from the original pool of 2,173 applicants.

So while 750 applications may seem like a lot, that only boils down to about 22 new officers, not even close to the department’s goal of putting 90 more cops on the street.

RSS icon Comments

1


So is it 163 NY officers or 20?

Question: Are you comparing apples to apples? I don't doubt that "raw" recruits might pass at a fairly low rate, but I'd think that people who are already officers in NYC would have a much higher pass rate.

Posted by Bluneck | April 11, 2008 11:51 AM
2

Unless the pool of NYPD police throw off the acceptance ratio. If you are going to compare two populations, please include where the applicants were selected from and for what positions. Also of interest would be the relative pay packages for the SPD, NYPD and National averages for a comparable city.

Posted by LMSW | April 11, 2008 11:53 AM
3

I'd have to agree with @2. If we're comparing Joe-off-the-street with NYPD, I'd expect a higher ratio of hires from the NYPD pool.

Posted by wench | April 11, 2008 12:03 PM
4

I believe the times says 163 of 750 were officers applying for transfers. That being said, having previous experience does not necessarily guarantee they'll be able to pass physicals, etc

Posted by Jonah s | April 11, 2008 12:22 PM
5

If they are wanting to leave NYPD to come join the SPD, that means they are unhappy where they are. If they like their job and they're good at it, one wonders why they want to move to Seattle. To me, 3 possibilities come to mind: (a) they don't like dirty huge NY, and want to move to hippy green Seattle, (b) they'll get paid more here (or their pay will go farther due to lower cost of living), or (c) they are incompetent or unqualified douchebags, and are trying to engineer a transfer before they get fired or furloughed from their current position.

So, no, I don't think that a bunch of disaffected NY cops is necessarily going to result in a higher pass rate than other potential pools.

Posted by Reverse Polarity | April 11, 2008 1:04 PM
6

Good point that experienced cops are more likely to pass and actually get hired.

@5 - the original articles explained that NYPD is laying off 1100 cops over the next year ... due to union rules those will be the newest hires so nothing to do with incompetence, etc.

@all - one last point not covered in the article.... for every 10 new graduates from academy 6 or 7 will not make it through the extended training and review periods

Posted by oops | April 11, 2008 2:44 PM
7

NYPD has the worst starting pay for officers in the country, considering the cost of living there. Some state bureaucrat recently slashed it from around $40k to $25k -- an insulting wage in America's most expensive city, and more comparable to some backwoods hick town. New York's recruiting woes are unbelievable, much worse than ours.

Being a cop is dangerous, dirty, and disgusting work. You spend more time filling out paperwork and rousting bums who've just shit themselves and are about to vomit down the front of your shirt than you do glamor stuff. Good officers are heading to the 'burbs, where the worst on offer is Junior driving Dad's Beamer into a ditch.

Posted by Fnarf | April 11, 2008 3:48 PM
8

NY has more cops per capita than anybody. I have an analysis of this on my blog -- now with a workbook you can download! They also have a very low crime rate.

It's almost like the presence of police officers (even if they're low paid) has the effect of reducing crime. Who knew?

Posted by elenchos | April 11, 2008 3:56 PM

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