2011-12-16 / Editorial/Opinion

Overreacting And Overreaching On Police Bill

Reacting to published reports that a number of New York City police officers were involved in posting vitriolic comments about the West Indian Day Parade and the people who participate in the parade on their Facebook pages, the state legislature has cooked up a bill that would require that all of the NYPD’s new hires live within the city. Presently, cops can live in the city or in one of the nearby counties – Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam or Orange. They say the bill is necessary because cops who live in the city will be more sensitive to other cultures than those who live outside the city. They haven’t met some of the cops who live in the city. Even if you believe that the cops’ postings were evil and worthy of dismissal, you have to think twice about the proposed bill. First of all, published reports say that half of those who made the postings live outside of the city. That means that the other half live in the city, so forcing everybody to live in the city just because you believe they will react to other people in a more sensitive way makes no sense. Secondly, New York City is very expensive. Most new cops who have families will not be able to afford to live in the city on the salary they are paid. That creates the hardship of both parents working as well as second jobs for all concerned. Look at the rents in Rockaway, for example. One bedroom apartments traditionally go for more than $1,000 a month; two bedrooms for $1,600 or more. You can’t make that nut on a new police officer’s salary. The state legislators are overreacting to a situation that a change in the law will not change, and they are overreaching by forcing one class of city hires to pay exorbitant rents to live in the city while allowing all others to live anywhere in a six-county radius.

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