Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Where is the highest paid police department in the USA? Part Two

The highest paid police department in the USA is not in New Jersey. It is in New York. More specifically, Long Island. Suffolk County Police earn the highest salaries in the USA.
They are followed closely by Nassau County Police, also on Long Island.
Notice the pension contributions in both the Suffolk County and Nassau County police departments. They are both NON-contributory.
New Jersey police are paid well. But the fact remains, the highest paid police departments are in New York.
The old saying that goes, "numbers don't lie, people do" may be applicable here. But I suspect the numbers are used by people to garner support for a particular agenda. Also, the people who claim New Jersey police are the highest paid in the nation, may also have been looking at the numbers a certain way. A way which doesn't tell the whole story. For instance, the average salaries of police in New Jersey were reported by the Newark Star Ledger,

The numbers are clear but why is it the reporter did not take into account the Suffolk County and Nassau County salaries? My assumption is that the reporter was basing the "average" salaries across the state. The average police salary across New York State is lower than the average salary of the across New Jersey. But the point is, New York State, not New Jersey, is home to the highest paid police in the nation. The point of this blog post is that the law of averages, doesn't necessarily add up.
Part Three tomorrow.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Highest Paid Police in the USA? Part One

Most of us Jerseyans have heard that New Jersey has the highest paid police in the USA. I first read that sometime last year in a column written by George Will. I was pretty much amazed. My surprise was not at the thought that local New Jersey police were the highest paid in the USA (although I did find myself wondering how and why that was). But my surprise was that it was a conservative pundit putting this information out. And in his column, George Will also made mention that Governor Chris Christie was agreeing that NJ local police were the highest paid in the nation. And, the column noted Governor Christie was going to do battle with the local police to change that statistic. My surprise was based on the fact that most law enforcement officers in New Jersey are pretty much Republican and/or conservative when it comes to politics. I know that not all police are on the right wing of the political spectrum, but it is pretty much a given that most are.

When I was reading the George Will article, Governor Christie was in the middle of taking down the teachers of New Jersey. He was having his way with them. He was smearing the profession while trying to kill off the largest teachers union in the state, the NJEA.

It was Governor Christie's campaign promise after all....he was going to reduce New Jersey's property taxes. So of course, all those who work for the local governments in New Jersey were fair game. Alright, but who would of thought he would go after the local police?

I have to admit, they do get paid well. And the benefits are quite handsome. If you want to know how many times I had thought about their salaries and wondered why they get paid so much, you would need more than 2 hands to count. On the other hand, these days many local police departments do require a college degree. And local police are expected to be professional. They also deal with dangerous and mentally unstable people every day. They view horrific sites. They face the possibility of great harm and, possibly, death each day. Their jobs are like the game of russian just never know when you may meet the crazy murderous criminal that will end your life.

If some of you are wondering about the dangers, just think of what happened in Lakewood in January. Officer Matlosz lost his life on a day and in a situation I am sure he never expected to.

But then again, I am no bleeding heart when it comes to police. There are many fine, dedicated and professional officers. Unfortunately, there are many dirty, lying, poorly trained and plain unprofessional officers (I am being kind in my wording). I know it for a fact. The problem comes in when we as the general public don't see both sides.

The bad side is usually hidden. Occasionally we will get a glimpse of the "bad cop". But typically, the badness, is not shown by the press or the rest of the law enforcement community. The law enforcement community generally back each other up. I think it is called the "thin blue line". They stick together, if for nothing else, their own personal job security and professional safety. If a cop goes bad, who is to blame? Is it the entire profession or just the one cop. Or is it the department or supervisors? Or all of the above? That is another question for another day.

The real focus here is the salary issue. The prior discussion is relevant because pay must be based on the question of job responsibilities and requirements. For instance, for many years, the Mexican police were readily known as being corrupt. The stated reason was that they were paid very poorly and they had to make money some how. So they abused their power. In the United States, I am hoping it never comes to that level. Paying New Jersey police a decent salary is necessary because it is an extremely dangerous and stressful job. But what makes New Jersey so special that it requires our local police to earn the highest salaries in the nation? After all, if they are the highest paid in the nation, New York City police do not earn as much as New Jersey police. And, I am sure you will agree, New York City is generally thought of as more dangerous than most of New Jersey. Well, except for maybe Camden, Newark, Jersey City, Atlantic City, etc. I would place those New Jersey cities on par with New York City.

And then, if we accept that New Jersey police are the highest paid in the nation, we are also saying that police in Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New Orleans, .....well, you get the picture...are underpaid. Or is it that their jobs are easier than New Jersey police?
It is confusing. I am not going to get into statistics too much. Because it is not necessary. I FOUND THE HIGHEST PAID POLICE DEPARTMENT IN NEW JERSEY AND IT IS NOT IN NEW JERSEY. WHERE DO YOU THINK IT IS?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lazy me

I sincerely apologize for not writing a blog.  Personal issues took over for a little while.  I am on the trail to writing some interesting stuff soon.  One is a discussion of whether or not, in the post-Wisconsin world of anti public unions, are New Jersey's local police truly the highest paid in the nation or ..... not.  Well, if you would like, comment here....put your thoughts out there because I would like to hear from you. 

Another future blog post will focus on our municipal property taxes.  I include in this analysis the dreaded school property taxes.  Granted, it is a complex issue, but I believe we Jerseyans need to know what on earth we, of all people, are doing ....are we paying the highest property taxes in the nation?  Isn't this the claim by all, or at least most of us?  New Jersey does have high property taxes but why? WHY?  Any interesting and/or intelligent comments on this topic are welcome. 
Thanks.  And I hope to have some good stuff written next week.