Rockaway Precincts Doing More With Less
The next class of rookie police officers is not due to graduate from the academy until this summer. Precincts across the city have found themselves in the position of having to do more with less - including the Rockaways.
During the Precinct Community Council meeting on April 16 Captain Brian McMahon, the commanding officer of the 101 Precinct, explained where his precinct stands.
While violent crime in the precinct is up as of April 13, total crimes in the 101 Precinct were down a little more than three percent and the incidents of the five index crimes (measured by the FBI) were fewer that there were at the same time last year, according to the NYPD's CompStat statistics.
"When you're having a good year in crime the commissioner, has to [send the rookie cops] where there's a lot more crime, and crime is up [in other precincts], so they put resources over there," said McMahon.
In addition, the commanding officer said, some officers are leaving New York City for other departments.
"We lost probably about four or five cops this year," said McMahon. "We're losing two more cops. They're going to the state troopers this week. We're trying to do more with less."
The State Troopers have a starting salary of $50,374 yearly. After one year on the force, troopers get $65,358 and after five years on the job troopers' salaries increase to $77,218.
The Daily News reported that just last week, about 200 NYPD police officers took a four-hour exam to become members of the Seattle Police Department. In Seattle, police recruits earn $47,334 a year and after six years the pay can hit the maximum of $67,045.
The NYPD starting pay for recruits is $25,000 a year and increases to $32,800 after they graduate from the academy.
Jonathan Gaska, the district manager for Community Board 14, spoke about the need for more officers on the streets of Rockaway.
"We're told crime is down, which is not the case anymore," said Gaska at April's Community Board 14 meeting. "You read in the paper that violent crime is up 24 percent [compared to] last year."
Gaska said that both precincts were at about 20 percent below their usual staffing level - the lowest in years. McMahon said the number at the 101 Precinct is more along the lines of 13 percent.
While McMahon agreed people don't see as many officers on Mott Avenue and other places, the captain did say much of what the precinct does is invisible to the layman.
"We do a lot you don't see," said McMahon, who explained that cops assigned to specialized units such as gangs, narcotics and housing are always around.
"What we're hoping is they'll give us overtime, so we can expand the hours cops can work later and longer," said McMahon. "It's not always the manpower, sometimes you just need a little bit more presence.
"The main thing is to have a cop on the street that people can see and that the people with guns can understand [he's there all day]," said McMahon.
During the same period cited for the 101 Precinct, the 100 Precinct is uncharacteristically up by almost 11 percent in crime and 9 index crimes.
Both the commanding officer and a department spokesperson declined to speak on the record about staffing levels at specific precincts.