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by Peter Moskos

December 1, 2010

The Boys of Summer

Or, more accurately, "The Baltimore City police men and women of late Fall 2009," but nobody ever wrote a book with that name.

I've also always wondered just how many of my class are still with the Baltimore Police Department. This seems a rather simple question, but such data, especially if it's police related, can be surprisingly hard to come by. I hear stories about this person leaving by choice and that person being asked to leave, but I really had no idea. I guessed about half of us were still there.

Today the Sun came out with with their searchable pay database for every city employee. Boo-ya!

And since I can can select for police department and sort by date of entry, it's very easy to get my academy class (and it's nice to see some of these names after all these years!).

So, after 11 years, how is the glorious class of 99-5 doing? I'd say fair to middling. When I was in the academy class, most of my fellow trainees assumed that our class was, how do I put this delicately, just slightly sub-par (hey, we can't all be above average). But who could say for sure?

There are 30 of the original 51 still left. That's a 59% retention rate (and similar for men and women). I'm not certain how that compares to other academy classes or police departments (that data is surprisingly hard to get), but I suspect it's a bit low.

More revealing is that just 2 of the 31 officers (6.5%) have been promoted (I hear a third is now number 10 on the list).

So I also looked at every other police officer hired in 2009 (excluding my class, n = 93). The overall promotion rate is 25% (including three lieutenants). Ouch.

And of course, here's what every police officer cares about: money. Are we making bank? I don't think so. I think police (and teachers) should make about $100,000 a year. The average base salary for those in my academy class (11 years experience) is $60,200 (and the city wants to cut it 10%). Those at the rank of officer are making $59,400. Overtime brings the average pre-tax take home up to $71,400. Three guys in my class pulled in more than $40,000 in overtime last year (about 20 hours/week).

[It seems only fair to tell my salary. As an assistant professor at CUNY with a PhD and 6 years I make $74,133. Plus I made about $2,500 in "overtime," a.k.a. book royalties. Best of all, nobody shot at me.]


Anonymous said...

Of those that left the department how many do you think left for other better paying and less busy police departments, for instance in the suburbs?

How common is it for officers to do that? i.e. get experience in a big city department, then leave for a sweeter gig elswhere

PCM said...

My feeling is that just a few left for other departments. Some left for other jobs. And few left because they had to.

IrishPirate said...

I'm guessing 70,000 dolares in Baltimore goes a wee bit farther than the same salary in NYC.

Please take out your professorial pen if I'm wrong.

Mrs. Gotti Rules said...

I just want to thank you for including teachers when mentioning how much you think police should make. This makes me especially happy since over the Thanksgiving holiday I got into a "debate" with my father in law over this issue. He thinks teachers make too much and should make $12 an hour like "other normal people" (his exact words). Needless to say, I was livid and my husband didn't say anything while I "debated" with my father in law.
Thanks again for valuing our profession!

PCM said...

Is that where Gotti gets his stupidity from? It all starts to makes sense...

Does your father-in-law realize that $12/hour is $24,000/year?

And does he realize that "normal" people could and should make a lot more?

But if there's an older more stubborn version of Gotti, what's the point of trying to debate?

PCM said...

Pirate, indeed it does.

But for crying out loud, working men and women are fighting for table scraps while Republicans threaten to shut down the government unless the super rich get more of our money.And people who aren't wealthy support the super rich. It's insane.

All working people could get paid more. That's what income redistribution is all about. Too bad we are we are redistributing income, but in the wrong direction.