New York police have low morale, say city less safe: poll

Members of the New York Police Department Counter Terrorism Unit watch as people skate on the skating rink at Bryant Park during unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Eve in the Manhattan borough of New York, December 24, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
By Joseph Ax

By Joseph Ax

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A majority of New York City police officers believe the city has become a more dangerous place and feel less satisfied in their jobs, according to a survey released on Monday by the city's largest police union.

More than 6,000 of the city's 24,000 patrol officers responded to the online survey, which was conducted by public opinion firm McLaughlin & Associates on behalf of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents said the city had become "less safe" in the last few years since Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton began their tenure. Ninety-six percent said the relationship between the public and the department had worsened.

"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," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch.

"The understaffing, inadequate training, low pay and lack of support has had a chilling effect on police officers across the city."

Monica Klein, a spokeswoman for de Blasio, called the survey's results "highly suspect."

"We are experiencing historic lows in criminal activity," she said. "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."

De Blasio's relationship with the New York City Police Department has been marked by occasional tensions since he took office in 2014.

An NYPD spokesman said the department had not yet received the survey but would review it once it was delivered.

The McLaughlin firm noted that the survey was open to all officers and did not use sampling, making it impossible to report an accurate margin of error. Approximately half of the union's officers received emailed invitations to participate.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)