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Sound Off: Are Suffolk Cops Overpaid?

Proposed 2012 county budget includes a $12.4 million increase in police district tax.

After five years, the base salary for a Suffolk County police officer is $108,608. That doesn't include overtime, which can easily add tens of thousands of dollars to that figure.  

Outgoing County Executive Steve Levy's proposed 2012 budget includes a $12.4 million increase in the police district tax.

Critics say paying so many cops six-figure salaries is out of line with other professions and has contributed to high property taxes and the county's budget crunch.  

Defenders of police salaries say these are the people who protect us from danger and they are worth every penny.  

To compare, Nassau County police earn $108,132 after eight years of service, according to the department's website. For New York City cops, base pay after five and a half years is $76,488. 

What your take? Are Suffolk police overpaid or does the demanding/dangerous nature of the job justify the pay? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments. 

We The People November 13, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Hey Sal you must be a cop.This is insane the amount of money we taxpayers are mandated to pay for public unions( Police-teachers).They should have one or the other not both when it comes to salaries and pensions.We are being extorted and held hostage on this island by all of this "treating the tax dollars like candy mentality".
Lucy November 13, 2011 at 11:11 PM
My husband is a cop and we live paycheck to paycheck. We dont have amazing health benefits we have what we can afford to pay towards. We also contribute to his pension. The only "great" benefit is the line of duty death benefit and I dont know anyone who wants to collect that. We dont live South of Montauk, we dont vacation in the islands for winter break or go to a ski house over christmas break. Our kids dont wear all the new fashions and neither of us drive a big huge new trucks unlike our corporate and wall street friends who have been doing it for as long as I can remember. Some of them even rubbing in our face that my husband only had a "civil servant job". Well guess what, most of them are now out of work and their families are finding it hard to adjust to "normal" life as my family knows it. Now they act as if we are the big bad guys with the pensions that we have been slowly accumulating while trying to survive living in West Islip. The grass is always greener whether it is fertilized with bs or the truth.
Rob November 13, 2011 at 11:13 PM
waste of money. Overpaid... Its a Joke.. I wish I can get that amount by sitting and driving around in my car. Levy should just go and get someone else in office. i wonder why Taxes are high in Suffolk. With all that money they get its funny how there is still gangs and crime around. But yet he wants to give themn a increase.
We The People November 13, 2011 at 11:42 PM
Listen who gets a 7,8,9 thousand dollar a month pension plus cadillac benefits for life.This is unreal and it has to change rite away the taxes are insane around here I mean everybody should have a retirement somehow but what is being shelled out for these public retirement packages is mind boggling and simply unfair.If we were to get honest like why such salaries and retirements are being given out.Its simple the politicians say ok to get union dues which we pay for into their coffers so they get re-elected and they returned the favors and the ball keeps rolling and its just about to roll rite off a cliff because the system is severely fractured.And how come Suffolk county police which should make a salary dont get me wrong work half the year and get paid so much and the teachers the same thing why is there such a seperation between public and non-public workers what is going on here?
Liam Murphy November 14, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Lucy..... Outstanding post and may your husband stay safe!!! Robert........ waste of money, overpaid and its a joke.... but your next comment was you wished you could do it!!! You had every opportunity to take criminal Justice in college and take the CIVIL SERVICE test, score hire and make the money they make and have their pension. Unfortunately that was beneath a lot of people and wanted to take there education into the corporate world to get rich faster!!!!! ME, I am happy with living the AMERICAN dream!!!! This country is broke from bailing everyone else ass out. It's always been the AMERICAN dream and now people blame the pensions!!! Give me a break.......
Pandemonium November 14, 2011 at 12:07 AM
I thank your husband for his service and for you for standing by him:)
Rob November 14, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Yes... Overpayed and wasted of tax payers money....and a joke. You must be a cop as well cause you agree . They do not deserve that amout of cash for sitting a there car and waiting for a call. wow,,, thats hard to do. Well i took a CIVIL SERVICE and passed thank you. But it wasnt for that.
Tre November 14, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Love it Rob. Everyone complains about their job. Maybe all the public employees should look at their job and see how very fortunate they are and also realize they work for us and should be held to our standards
Big Joe November 14, 2011 at 12:46 PM
Hmmm Anyone catch Newsrags Sunday paper about PENSIONS.... I rest my case... Told ya so... Ignorance is bliss....
Blue Collar Tax Payer November 14, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Have any of you even looked at your tax bill recently? In Sayville I pay $6000 in school taxes even though I have no children, $1200 for Sanitation and a mere $1600 for the Police Department. Seriously, what are you people complaining about? Knowing that my town is safe enough for me to stroll through at 2am if I so chose because the Police presence is so strong frankly is worth every penny I pay in taxes.
Melissa McManus November 14, 2011 at 03:46 PM
I'm not bashing cops in any way, shape, or form. But just something to think about....PANDEMONIUM, you talk about calling 911 and the response coming to your aid being priceless....what about all the volunteer firefighters who could have to put their lives on the line at a moment's notice when a 911 call is made? They all do it for nothing. What about all the volunteer EMS personel that could have to help an enraged junkie or walk into a house full of gang members bc someone has been shot? They don't get a salary either. And yeah there are plenty of BS automatic fire alarms that go off or band-aid EMS calls, but you always run that chance of getting a call that could dramtically change your life forever. And it's all done on a VOLUNTEER basis. Again it's just something to think about because not everyone that responds to a 911 call gets paid (with salaries/benefits that are good, bad, or indifferent), but we all could have to put our lives on the line at a moment's notice, just like the cops you're all arguing about.
Fred Stewart November 14, 2011 at 03:56 PM
you said it lucy...
Fred Stewart November 14, 2011 at 03:59 PM
you can't change the game halfway thru... if the community doesn't want to pay teachers and cops what they're worth, slash their pay...you can do it... the community decides what they want and commicates with their legislators about it... that's how it works... then see who's teaching your kids and protecting your valuables...you get what you pay for...
Evan Bloom November 14, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Fred Stewart makes a great point. If the job wasn't so attractive, the quality of the applicant pool would plummet. Competition breeds excellence.. There's a reason I, along with many smart and athletic people I know and went to school with, took that exam. If everybody wants the job, only the best get it. If nobody wants it, then it will just be whatever sap they can get to fill the spot.
Donna Angiulo November 14, 2011 at 04:35 PM
Overpaid? Definitely! Supporters of the excessively high salaries say the protection is worth the higher taxes. There are police officers througout the US who make significantly less than Suffolk County police and do just as good of a job and deal with just as much, if not more, crime and crime prevention as Suffolk County police. As far as the risk factor; the dangers of being a police officer are well known and men and women will continually enter the field on their own free will and desire. New York City police deal with significantly more danger and earn less. Does that mean these police officers are not as qualified as Suffolk County police becasue they earn less?
Sal November 15, 2011 at 04:23 AM
Yea but unfortunately the article failed to highlight a few things. The pension fund for firefighters and police was heavily invested in stocks and fell from over 150 billion to alittle over 110 billion in 08 but has recovered back to over 145 billion. This year they will only pay out 8 billion in funds. State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli admitted local governments will pay about $400 million more into the pension fund compared with 2011 because of the economic upheaval that began with the 2008 stock market dive. As you can see its more of the economic recovery then pension payouts. Patterson did a good job in altering the retirement system with Tier V. Also those attacking the pensions, the average police pension is $63,000, not a six figure. What newsday also failed to mention as how during the 90's and early 2000's both Nassau and Suffolk due to the pension fund doing so good failed they failed to make any contribution to it. If they had they wouldnt be making such a large contribution now.
Whatever November 17, 2011 at 07:40 PM
Everyone hates a Suffolk Cop...Anyone scrutinizing Suffolk County Dept of Social Services? Of course not... At least the cops get up for work in the morning for your tax dollars.
Through the Looking Glass November 17, 2011 at 07:55 PM
Over paid and underworked. Most of them have their own businesses and make tons of off the books money doing pools, electrical work and plumbing, undercutting legitimate businesses and cheapening the value of the work. Their hours allow them to maintain these businesses since they have so much time off. They don't work HALF as hard as NYC cops who get paid far less and have less in the benefit plan too. Are they "invaluable" when you really need them" I'm not sure. Whatever happened to being paid for a job instead of collecting a salary that is driven by the guilt of the public? You could lump the SCPD into the "shaved head musclebound lug" category and not be too far wrong. I've watched them take free coffee at 7-11's while I have to pay the going rate on my much smaller salary. I've seen them park illegally at marinas and flash their badges while they go visit with their buddies and have a beer. I'm from the generation that called cops something else that began with a P and it wasn't police. There was a reason then and SCPD reinforces that there is a reason now. They are NOT heros. They are public employees that we have decided to overpay. At least whomever does the negotiating for the public has decided it. Maybe THEY should be investigated
Michael CJ November 22, 2011 at 01:27 PM
Pandemonium THAT’S THERE JOB!! When it snows, the plow drivers come out and clean the streets, when your electric goes out, the pole works comes and fixes it, when you heat goes out, the plumber comes and fixes it. When your house is on fire the “FREE” volunteer fireman comes and saves you. These all can be considered important jobs, but as a community. we need to weight the benefits to all when it comes to the public safety. The police make too much money!!! We need more police on the streets!! This cannot happen under the present pay structure. So the question to you is? Do you wish to have more policemen to protect you or higher-paid policemen to comfort you after you have been victimized by crime because they can only respond to crime, they cannot protect us from it, because there is not enough of them?
Michael CJ November 22, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Lucy You don’t live paycheck to paycheck!! People with no healthcare, people with no sick time, people with no vacation time, people with no guaranteed pension for the rest of their lives (from whenever they decide to retiree), people who don’t know where their next meal is coming from, live paycheck to paycheck! Please don’t compare your 100k plus income to them, it’s disrespectful.
Jacqueline Di Donato November 22, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving to all:)
Jon Falcon November 22, 2011 at 09:25 PM
I'm not so sure the question ought to be "Are Suffolk Cops Overpaid" as much as it should be "Can We Afford" to pay Suffolk cops as much as we do? I've only had good experiences with the police. When I've called, they came and handled my complaint professionally. When my daughter was in an auto accident, they were empathetic of both her as well as myself, a concerned father. Human nature would dictate that they aren't all "up to par", but that's every profession. Some comments on this blog are obviously from individuals who have been on the wrong end of the law, whether it was receiving a summons, or perhaps a DWI, or whatever; my contention is if some people don't dislike the police, than the police aren't doing their job. With that being said, the pensions and healthcare of the police (not so much the salaries) are much to burdensome on the system . We need to figure out a way to not only curtail these costs, but to curtail the cost of healthcare itself. The police aren't alone, we all have a hand in the cookie jar, one way or another. I just had a plumber at my house and his bill was as high my dentist bill. How much does a laborer get to wave a flag for 10 hours? The entire system is unmaintainable and in dire need of an overhaul, but I'm afraid it's impossible to do. Unions have our hands and legs tied with courtrooms and constitutions. We're falling and we can't even help ourselves. The police are most visible, but not nearly most responsible..
carlos v November 18, 2012 at 02:42 PM
you know thats messed up to say there underpaid you know how many more cops we can have on the streets protecting us if they werent overpaid and alot more jobs as well for people who need them so dont be selfish and think of others
carlos v November 18, 2012 at 02:51 PM
yeah sal i want to see you walking the streets of brooklyn or the bronx at night and seeing how safe it is compared to driving around in a comfortable car doing nothing but going to tacobell all the time and please give me a brake theyre never in danger they always show up in packs come on guy your problably just agreeing because someone in your family is a cop or a friend is and you like how much $$ he makes meanwhile we pay for his salarie
carlos v November 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
count how many police officers there are count the base salary and add a little extra for overtime and add them together all the police officers and where talking about billions of dollars and thats no joke thats a serious amount of money for horrible police service they provide for that amount of money we should have a proffesional police officer not what they give us now
carlos v November 18, 2012 at 03:13 PM
in my country cops get paid 10 times less than that and they still do a good job its an insult to a mans integrity when he has to be paid more to protect the lives of people and be called a hero americans as a people need to open their eyes and realize how much they are getting ripped of not just from police officers but from other sectors as well i know you dont think you pay much for cops but think about it this way how many times in your life has a police officer saved you ?
William March 26, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Thats there JOB......they get paid a boatload, no a ship load of money to do it.......and lets stop making them out to be marters......they were not drafted or forced to do this line of work,,,,,they applied for the job just like everyone else applies for a job. So lets stop the bull. Yes I appreciate when they do there JOB,,,,just as I appreciate my Mechanic when he fixes my car, or my Doctor when he cures me. But to pay them that kind of salary is outrageous.....and where does it end. The two county unions keep feeding off each other with binding arbitration, And the arbitrators set salaries based on what the going rate in the area is.It is unabstainable and must be stoped. There are Police in other areas of the country that do the same job and are appreciated just as much and they dont make that kind of money. Take the NYPD for instance. Id say there job is even tougher then Nassau or Suffolk and they don't make anywere near that kind of money. Lets talk about there pensions....now thats a crime, Pensions in the private sector are a thing of the past, yet the Police have this nifty system where there pension is based onthe highest salary of there last few years gross pay, so what they do is work as much O/T as possible to get the highest pension they can. This pension system and benefit package was put in place when municiple employees did not have high saleries so they were compansated with benefits. Well that horse is out of the barn now.
William March 26, 2013 at 09:43 PM
check the local volenteer fire house or the donut shops or couped up double wide behind the super market.
William March 26, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Fred you can change the game half way thru,it happens all the time. Companies that have unions, break them and hire new people at a lower wage. And I hate to deflate your theory about the quality of the person taking the lower paying job but I come from an Airline Managment background, Directing a highly skilled workforce and witnessed them replaced without a hitch not even a hickup.....no body is indespensible,,,,everyone is replaceable...and I will bet there are alot of people out there who would love to do that job and would be more then happy to do it for less money.......so dont kid yourself.
jo December 24, 2013 at 09:08 AM
We cops are overpaid. I make much more than my sister who is a doctor on an hourly and she has 300K+ of debt. I have zero debt get 7 weeks paid vacation (vs her 3 weeks). She makes 200/yr while I make 180K after overtime. She works 50-60 hours per week and I work 30-45. I also moonlight as bartender and detective earning an extrak 15K.yr off the books. I am a 17year veterean earning over 100K for past 12 years, my sister just started making money and she is 35. By time my sister hits 250K. I will be collectin 100K pension and making an addtional 150 as a village cop and or private detective. Lets face it, Ihave a much better deal than doctors. I say this late in my career because there is no way to confiscate my benefits. But lets face, its not fair that I make so much Doctors and other professionals dont. I feel my free time is well deserved though, most professionals dont get yelled at by crazy motorists or respond to domestic abuse calls on a monthly, sometimes, weekly basis. We do walk around with a gun and are expected to intervene if we see a criminal activity when we are off duty. Still, given our pensions and free time and free health care, I admit we are 25-50% overpaid. There is waiting list of thousands of candidates to be Suffolk cop (but you need a connection inside the force to get in). We own the politicians. It is what it is

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