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by Peter Moskos

April 11, 2008

Pay NYPD More (II)

A police officer was arrested in Pennsylvania for bank robbery. I don't like to compare common criminals with mistakes people make because they're poor--like the NYPD officer who discharged his gun (shooting an 18-month-old boy in the apartment below) while cleaning it... in the dark... because he couldn't pay his electric bill.

But what all this has in common is that it wouldn't happen if police officers could live off their starting salary ($25,100) and recruiting standards were higher.

From Veronika Belenkaya and Ethan Rouen's story in the New York Daily News:
An NYPD rookie sworn to enforce the law broke it big-time Thursday, stealing $113,000 from a Pennsylvania bank at gunpoint, authorities said.

Cop-turned-robber Christian Torres, 21, of Queens, was collared less than a block away and the loot was recovered, police said.
Officers Hector Alvarez and Miguel Castillo told New Jersey police they were investigating terrorism when they were caught trying to rob a Bergen County drug den in May 2007, cops said.

Four months later, NYPD recruit Claribel Polanco, a mother of two, allegedly committed welfare fraud.

Too poor to pay his electric bill, Officer Patrick Venetek of Brooklyn was cleaning his gun in the dark when it accidentally went off in February. The bullet struck an 18-month-old boy in the apartment below.


Anonymous said...

I read about the Christian Torres story on www.nypost.com in their latest news section. These kinds of news articles are scary when you think about it. It's kind of unfair because a few of these "bad cops" are giving honest cops a bad name. I agree with your point though that NYPD needs to be paid more to avoid situations like this. My friend just joined the NYPD a few months ago and he's not really getting paid that much either and he works in one of the worst areas in the city..pretty unfair.

Anonymous said...

Very scary. Cops deserve more money but stiil, the salary is not an excuse for becoming or remaining a perp. I am of the opinion that just because you are poor, it is not an excuse for crime and treating you living enviroment like trash; I feel them same about cops who take the job and commit acts like those above.

Maybe because of the low salary the NYPD is just attracting less qualified recruits.

Please continue with this blog.

PCM said...

Salary is not an excuse to rob a bank. I'm sure standards are going down. That's what I hear. Of course, cops *always* say standards are going down. But it's not a surprise you get what you pay for.

But how can you not feel sorry for a cop who can't pay his electric bill?

And I felt very sorry for Claribel Polanco. She didn't rob a bank. She didn't even "actively" commit fraud. She just "forgot" to tell welfare than she had gotten a job. Oops. So she kept getting a few hundred bucks a month.

Who out there would tell the government to stop sending you a check when you just got a job that doesn't pay you enough to pay rent and feed the kids? And if you would prefer your kids to go hungry rather than commit welfare fraud, shame on you!

PCM said...

The New York Times reports that he was a John Jay student (2 years, with a 3.6 GPA)! Too bad he never took my class in police ethics.