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NYPD unreimbursed for loss of new officers

This is a file photo of an NYPD

This is a file photo of an NYPD squad car. Credit: Newsday File

The NYPD billed three police departments in July after they hired away newly trained officers but none of the agencies has paid up, officials said Wednesday.

Bills averaging about $50,000 each were sent to the Village of Clarkstown in Rockland County, the Village of Pelham in Westchester County and the New York State Police after they all hired away officers within three months of their police academy graduations, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

A change in state law last year allowed the NYPD to bill other agencies that hire officers within three years of graduation, Browne said. Until the change, only jurisdictions with a population of fewer than 10,000 could get reimbursement. The measure was meant to protect smaller entities from spending thousands for training an officer, only to lose them to a nearby police agency.

It is unfair to deny officers "the career advancement opportunities open to all other citizens," said Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, in a statement.

The practice of hiring away new NYPD officers likely will not end soon, said professor Joseph King of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"If you hire a New York City officer, you might have to pay, but you get an officer who is not wet behind the ears, who has done gun runs, who has done homicides," King said. "You're getting a vastly better officer than you are out of your own training academy."

In Clarkstown, Supervisor Alexander Gromack said getting billed could give him second thoughts because of the financial penalty.

"If the law remains as we see it now, with a three-year look-back period, we would be reluctant to hire until that expired," Gromack said, although town officials remain undecided about whether to pay the NYPD.

The state police said it will not pay because it is not a "municipality," as defined in the bill.

The Village of Pelham said it has not decided whether to pay for an NYPD officer it hired as a firefighter. Browne said the law covers any hiring, not just for police jobs.

The law was included in a massive end-of-session budget package that was approved by the state legislature in 2011. The PBA said it has gotten two state legislators to introduce bills this year to modify the legislation.

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