NYPD morale is at rock bottom and the dangers officers face are greater despite an influx of new cops and an increase in technology, according to a police union survey.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association online membership poll found that 87% of police officers believe the city is “less safe” since Mayor de Blasio took over two years ago.
A stunning 96% of officers who responded said they feel the relationship between the NYPD and the public has worsened in recent years, with 70% saying it has “greatly worsened,” according to the poll handled by McLaughlin & Associates.
“The results of this survey prove what we’ve been hearing time and time again from members over the past two years – the job is more difficult than ever, the dangers are greater, and morale is extremely low,” PBA President Pat Lynch said in a statement.
All told, 6,000 of the PBA’s approximately 24,000 members responded to the online survey. The overwhelming number of respondents were male (87%) compared to female (10%). The department is roughly 80% men and 20% female.
The poll is difficult to put into context because it’s the first of its kind commissioned by the union.
De Blasio’s office slammed the survey, noting that overall crime has dropped 5.8% over the last two years. At the same time, City Hall has moved to hire 1,300 news cops and outfit officers with new bulletproof vests, smart phones, and tablets.
“These findings are highly suspect and fly in the face of the facts,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Monica Klein.
“We are experiencing historic lows in criminal activity. Murders and shootings are at their lowest in modern history. NYPD is the most effective police force in the country thanks to our officers’ dedication and commitment to their job.” The NYPD declined to comment.
The de Blasio administration has worked to mend its strained relationship with cops over the past year.
Relations between de Blasio and the NYPD hit their nadir when officers turned their backs on him at the funerals of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos in December 2014 and January 2015.
Hours after the shootings, an emotional Lynch blamed the mayor for creating the anti-police sentiment that led to the killings, saying Hizzoner had “blood” on his hands.
The police unions were already furious after the mayor weeks earlier explained he had to instruct his bi-racial son Dante on how to cooperate with police for his own protection.
Since those low points, de Blasio agreed to add close to 1,300 new cops as part of the city’s expanded budget. The move came after the mayor repeatedly opposed the idea championed by the City Council.
The NYPD has also supplied 6,000 Panasonic FZ-G1 Touchpad tablets – one for every squad car – as well as up to 41,000 smart phones to officers.
In addition, the de Blasio administration has also opposed a bill that would criminalize the use of chokeholds by cops instead of a violation of internal department policy.
But all those moves haven’t swayed officers, according to the PBA’s poll.
“The understaffing, inadequate training, low pay and lack of support has had a chilling effect on police officers across the city,” Lynch said.
“Police officers are risking and sometimes sacrificing their lives to protect their communities from real crime and mayhem, and now they live in constant fear of lawsuits, public complaints and are not supported by either the elected officials or the public,” he added.
One police expert agreed. “The general tone of the police department and the membership is that things are not good,” said Joseph Pollini, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who spent 33 years with the NYPD.
“I loved every day,” he said. “But If I had a kid eligible to go into the PD I wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t get the backing that you need.”