The Seattle Police Officer's Union and their supporters use the same refrain over and over again in their battle against accountability reforms: that the SPD doesn't pay enough to keep officers and that they cannot recruit officers because the city wants to improve the police accountability system. They argue that demanding more accountability and less misconduct will somehow scare away good recruits and that offering more money instead will somehow convince bad officers to behave better.
Some journalists agree with the guild and have put pressure on the city to inact huge pay raises and to hire more officers before trying to fix the broken accountability system at the guild's behest. This has pressured the city into considering lower standards for recruits and dropping accountability reforms just to boost ranks despite a string of public relations fiascos due to officer misconduct and brutality. Of course, it makes no sense to reward bad behavior... if it did we would give criminals cash instead of jail terms.
Well, it appears that the guild's argument hasn't reached the ears of officers elsewhere because New York police officers view Seattle as a police officer's utopia compared to their beats and are signing up by droves to make the cross-country transfer. They say the starting salary is AWESOME and that the command structure and officials support their officers MUCH MORE than NYC officials and managers do!
...and we better beware because the same problems that happened in NYC could happen here, a lowering of standards that causes more misconduct problems, which causes less support from the community, which causes labor disputes which are resolved in arbitration instead of at the bargaining table, which results in lower salaries and more distrust.
From the New York Daily News:
The pitch is simple: Seattle pays its new hires nearly twice as much as the NYPD.
And if that's not enough, they'll throw in another $5,000 to cover moving expenses...
NYPD recruits get a paltry $25,100 annual salary while they are in the academy. Their pay jumps to $32,800 after graduation and tops out at $59,588 after seven years.
Considering it costs about 20% more to live in New York City than Seattle, NYPD officers would have to earn about $80,000 to maintain the same standard of living as in Seattle.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has blamed the department's starting salary for hurting recruitment. The pay scale was imposed by an arbitration panel in 2005 after the city and police union couldn't reach a deal.
Where it gets interesting is in the comments, like this one...
"What the reporter failed to mention is that the mayor and politicians actually praise the cops for their work in seattle. Here in the city the mayor shouts "Do more with less!!! Less cars, less cops, lower salary!!! BUT Keep the crime rate Low!! Oh yeah!! One last thing!!! If you take police action its up to me and the rest of the politicians to decide if you go in front of a grand jury. Our decisions depend on what side of the bed we wake up on!!!!"
...and more just like it telling the tales of NYPD officers who made the transfer and LOVE IT HERE.