New York City Police Department

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For contacting the NYPD, or for local police matters, see Local Guide to the NYPD

Template:Infobox Law enforcement agency

The New York City Police Department (NYPD), established in 1845, is currently the largest municipal police force in the United States,[1] with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City. The NYPD was the first police agency established in the United States.[2] It has its headquarters in Lower Manhattan, New York City.[3]



The NYPD has a broad array of specialized services, including tactical operations, K-9, harbor patrol, air support, bomb disposal, Anti-Terrorism, intelligence, anti-gang, narcotics, public transportation, and public housing; The New York City Transit Police and Housing Police were fully integrated into the NYPD in 1995. NYPD has extensive crime scene investigation and laboratory resources, as well as units which assist with computer crime investigations. The NYPD runs an anticrime computer network, essentially a large search engine and data warehouse operated by detectives to assist officers in the field with their investigations.[4] According to the department, its mission is to "enforce the laws, preserve the peace, reduce fear, and provide for a safe environment."

Members of the NYPD are frequently referred to by the nickname New York's Finest. The NYPD is headquartered at One Police Plaza located on Park Row across the street from City Hall.

In June 2004, there were about 40,000 sworn officers plus several thousand support staff; In June 2005, that number dropped to 35,000. As of November 2007, it had increased to slightly over 36,000 with the graduation of several classes from the Police Academy. The NYPD's current authorized uniformed strength is 37,838.[5] There are also approximately 4,500 Auxiliary Police Officers, 5,000 School Safety Agents, 2,300 Traffic Enforcement Agents, and 370 Traffic Enforcement Supervisors currently employed by the department.


Salary and retention issues

One Police Plaza, headquarters of the New York City Police Department in Lower Manhattan.

After years of bitter wrangling that saw starting pay for new officers fall to as low as $25,100 a year, the city and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association on August 21, 2008 reached agreement on a new four-year contract.[6]

The contract, which runs from August 1, 2006 to July 31, 2010, gives police officers a 17 percent pay raise over its four-year life, and raises starting pay from $35,881 to $41,975, and top pay from $65,382 to approximately $76,000 annually. With longevity pay, holiday pay, night shift differential and other additions, the total annual compensation for officers receiving top pay will be approximately $91,823, not including overtime. It should also be noted that this is the first contract since 1994 the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and the City of New York mutually agreed on without involving a mediator.[7][8]

While an improvement on the expired contract, the new terms still leave a substantial gap between the NYPD and nearby departments that pay considerably more, up to $50,000 for new hires and over $100,000 for more experienced officers.[9] Over the years, thousands of city officers have left for higher paying jobs with other agencies, notably the Nassau County Police Department, the Suffolk County Police Department, Westchester County police departments, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police of New York and the Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey.[10] Discontent over pay issues has become so widespread and so well-known that higher-paying departments in lower cost-of-living areas, such as the Rochester, New York Police,[11] the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police,[12] and the Seattle Police Department,[13] are actively recruiting NYPD officers to join their forces.

Police departments in nearby Rockland County and Westchester County have top base salaries ranging from around $85,000 to $105,000, not counting longevity, uniform pay, overtime and benefits. In 2007 a Westchester County Department of Public Safety officer reportedly made over $250,000 (with overtime), making him the highest paid police officer in the United States.

Large numbers of NYPD officers have also migrated to the New York City Fire Department, where, even though pay is comparable with that of the NYPD, work schedules are more attractive and relations with the public more amicable.[14] Contract changes in 2006, however, now forbid the prior practice of allowing police officers who join the fire department to transfer their seniority for compensation purposes. With all new firefighters now compelled to begin working at the same starting pay, the number of NYPD officers "rolling over" to the FDNY is likely to fall considerably.[15]

File:NYPD swearing in July 2005.jpg
NYPD graduation ceremony in Madison Square Garden, July 2005.

Some NYPD officers charge that the department's leadership is seeking to stem the flow of officers to other jurisdictions by administrative means.[16] In January 2006, 35 NYPD officers seeking to move to the Port Authority Police sued the New York department, claiming that it was refusing to make their personnel records available to PAPD background investigators. The plaintiffs won an injunction at the trial level, but the Appellate Division in January 2007 overturned that ruling and ordered the case to trial.

For its part, the NYPD claims its actions are merely in line with the personnel practices of other employers and that there is no "stealth" effort to prevent officers from moving elsewhere. Nonetheless, it is a fact that no NYPD officers have been included in the last two PAPD police academy classes as a result.[17]

Despite these obstacles, there are signs that the exodus from the NYPD may be accelerating. In 2007, 990 officers resigned before becoming eligible for retirement, on top of 902 who left in 2006, 867 in 2005 and 635 in 2004, which makes for an attrition rate of around two percent. While Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly insists that figure compares positively with turnover rates in private industry, police union officials argue that the proper comparison should be with prior years on the NYPD. In 1991, for example, only 159 officers left early, for an attrition rate of less than one half of one percent.[18][19]

Ranks of the NYPD

There are three career "tracks" in the New York City Police Department. The supervisory track consists of 12 sworn titles, referred to as ranks. Promotion to the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant and captain are made via competitive civil service examinations. Promotion to the ranks of deputy inspector, inspector and chief are made at the discretion of the police commissioner, after successfully passing all three civil service exams. Promotion from the rank of Police Officer to Detective is determined by the current police labor contract with approval of the Police Commissioner. The entry level appointment to detective is third grade or specialist. The Police Commissioner may grant discretionary grades of first or second grade. These grades roughly correspond to compensation equivalent to supervisors. Specifically, a second grade detective's pay roughly corresponds to a sergeant and a first grade detective's pay roughly corresponds to a lieutenant. Detectives are police officers that have been given titles and have no supervisory authority. A Detective First Grade still falls under the command of a Sergeant or above. Similar to detective grades, Sergeants and Lieutenants also can receive pay grade increases within their rank.

The other two tracks are the "investigative" track and the "specialist" track.

Title Insignia Uniform Shirt Color
Chief of Department
Bureau Chief <center>White
Assistant Chief <center>White
Deputy Chief <center>White
Inspector <center>White
Deputy Inspector <center>White
Captain <center>White
Lieutenant <center>White
Sergeant <center>Dark Blue
Police Officer
<center>Dark Blue

There are two basic types of detective on the NYPD: "detective-investigators" and "detective-specialists".

Detective-Investigators are the type most people associate with the term "detective" and are the ones most frequently portrayed on television and in the movies. Most police officers gain their detective title by working in the Narcotics Division of the NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau and are then moved to the Detective Bureau. Detectives assigned to squads are co-located within each precinct and are responsible for investigating murders, rapes, robberies, burglaries and other crimes within that precinct's boundaries. Other detective-investigators are assigned to specialized units at either the major command or citywide level, investigating terrorist groups, organized crime, narcotics dealing, extortion, bias crimes, political corruption, kidnappings, major frauds or thefts committed against banks or museums, police corruption, contractor fraud and other complex, politically sensitive or high-profile cases. A squad of detective-investigators are also assigned to each of the city's five district attorney's offices. (Arsons are investigated by fire marshals, who are part of the New York City Fire Department.)

Promotion from Police Officer to Detective-Investigator is based on investigative experience. Typically, a Police Officer who is assigned to an investigative assignment for 18 months will be designated "Detective-Investigator" and receive the gold shield and pay increase commensurate with that designation. In the recent past, however, there has been controversy over the budget-conscious department compelling police officers to work past the 18 months without receiving the new title.

Newly appointed detectives start at Detective Third Grade, which has a pay rate roughly between that of Police Officers and Sergeants. As they gain seniority and experience, they can be "promoted" to Detective Second-Grade, which has a pay grade slightly less than sergeants. Detective First-Grade is an elite designation for the department's most senior and experienced investigators and carries a pay grade slightly less than Lieutenants. All these promotions are discretionary on the part of the Commissioner and can be revoked if warranted. And while senior detectives can give directions to junior detectives in their own squads, not even the most senior detective can lawfully issue orders to even a junior patrol officer. All Detective grades still fall under the "chain of command" of the Supervisory ranks beginning with Sergeant through Chief of Department. Detectives like Police Officers are eligible to take the promotional civil service exams for entry into the Supervisory ranks.

While carrying with them increased pay and prestige, none of these Detective grades confer on the holder any supervisory authority. And contrary to what is often portrayed by Hollywood, there is no specific rank of "Detective Sergeant" or "Detective Lieutenant". Lieutenants and Sergeants are assigned to oversee Detective squads as Supervisors, and are responsible for all investigations.

A lieutenant (white shirt) debriefing officers in Times Square.

However, that "Hollywood portrayal" is sourced with the small percentage of Lieutenants and Sergeants who excel as Investigative Supervisors (approximately equal to 10% of their respective ranks) and are granted the prestigious pay grade designations of "Sergeant Detective Supervisor" (SDS), or Lieutenant Detective Commander (LDC) therefore assuming full Investigative command responsibility as opposed to operational supervision. Their pay grade rises to an approximate mid-point between their normal rank and the next highest rank's pay grade, and similar to a Detective's "grade", is also a discretionary promotion. This pay grade designation is achieved by assignment to Investigative units, i.e. Detective Bureau, Internal Affairs Bureau, Counter-Terrorism Bureau, Intelligence Bureau, and Organized Crime Control Bureau. Lieutenants and Sergeants in non-investigatory assignments can be designated Lieutenant-Special Assignment or Sergeant-Special Assignment, pay equivalent to their investigative counterparts.

"Detective-specialists" are a relatively new designation and one unique to the NYPD. In the 1980s, many detectives resented that some officers were being granted the rank of detective in order to give them increased pay and status, but were not being assigned to investigative duties. Examples included officers assigned as bodyguards and drivers to the mayor, police commissioner and other senior officials.

To remedy this situation, the rank of detective-specialist was created. These officers are typically found in specialized units because they possess a unique or esoteric skill the department needs, e.g., sharpshooter, bomb technician, scuba instructor, helicopter instructor, sketch artist, etc. Like detective-investigators, detective-specialists start at third grade and can be promoted to second- or first-grade status.

The Department is administered and governed by the Police Commissioner, who is appointed by the Mayor. Technically, the commissioner serves a five-year term; as a practical matter, the commissioner serves at the Mayor's pleasure. The commissioner in turn appoints numerous deputy commissioners. The commissioner and his subordinate deputies are civilians under an oath of office and are not uniformed members of the force who are sworn officers of the law. However, a police commissioner who comes up from the uniformed ranks retains that status while serving as police commissioner. This has ramifications for their police pensions and the fact that any police commissioner who is considered sworn does not need a pistol permit to carry a firearm, and does retain the statutory powers of a police officer. Some police commissioners (like Ray Kelly) do carry a personal firearm, but they also have a full-time security detail from the Police Commissioner's (Detective) Squad.

A First Deputy Police Commissioner may have a security detail when he/she acts as commissioner or under other circumstances as approved by the police commissioner.

Commissioner titles:

Title Insignia
Police Commissioner
First Deputy Commissioner
Deputy Commissioner

These individuals are administrators who supersede the Chief of Department, and they usually specialize in areas of great importance to the Department, such as counter-terrorism, operations, training, public information, legal matters, intelligence, and information technology. Despite their role, as civilian administrators of the Department, they are prohibited from taking operational control of a police situation (with the exception of the Commissioner and the First Deputy Commissioner).

Within the rank structure, there are also designations, known as "grades", that connote differences in duties, experience, and pay. However, supervisory functions are generally reserved for the rank of sergeant and above.

Badges in the New York City Police Department are referred to as "shields" (the traditional term). Lower-ranked police officers are identified by their shield numbers, and tax registry number. Lieutenants and above do not have shield numbers and are identified by tax registry number. All sworn members of NYPD have their I.D. card photos taken against a red background. Civilian employees of the NYPD have their I.D. card photos taken against a blue background, signifying that they are not commissioned to carry a firearm. All ID cards have an expiration date. Sworn police officers are referred to as "MOS" or, members of the service.

Organization and structure

The Department is divided into ten bureaus, six of which are enforcement bureaus. Each enforcement bureau is sub-divided into sections, divisions, and units, and into patrol boroughs, precincts, and detective squads. Each Bureau is commanded by a Bureau Chief (such as the Chief of Patrol, the Chief of Housing, Chief of Internal Affairs). There are also a number of specialized units (such as the Operations Unit and Compstat) that are not part of any of the Bureaus and report to the Chief of the Department.

Line of duty deaths

Since December 25, 1806, the NYPD has lost 780 officers in the line of duty. This figure includes officers from agencies that were absorbed by or became a part of the modern NYPD in addition to the modern department itself. This number also includes officers killed on and off duty by gunfire of other officers on duty. The NYPD lost 23 officers on September 11, 2001, as well as 31 officers as a result of illness contracted from inhaling toxic chemicals while working long hours at Ground Zero and Fresh Kills Landfill.[20]

Type number Type number
9/11 related 31[22] Accidental 10
Aircraft accident 7 Animal related 17
Asphyxiation 2 Assault 31
Automobile accident 51 Bicycle accident 4
Boating accident 5 Bomb 2
Drowned 12 Duty related illness 10
Electrocuted 5 Explosion 8
Exposure 1 Fall 12
Fire 14 Gunfire 321
Gunfire (accidental) 24 Heart attack 44
Motorcycle accident 36 Stabbed 24
Struck by streetcar 7 Struck by train 5
Struck by vehicle 37 Structure collapse 3
Terrorist attack 24 Vehicle pursuit 12
Vehicular assault 20 Total 780

Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB)




As of 2009, the NYPD is 47.5% Caucasian, 28.9% Hispanic, 17.9% African American, and 5.5% Asian compared to a city that is 44% Caucasian, 27% Hispanic (of any race), 25% African American, and 11% Asian.[23]


  • The department is affiliated with the New York City Police Foundation and the New York City Police Museum.
  • The department also runs a Youth Police academy to provide positive interaction with police officers and to educate young people about the challenges and responsibility of police work.
  • The department also provides a citizen Police Academy which educates the public on basic law and policing procedures.
  • The department also charters a Law Enforcement Explorer Post, for young men and women interested in law enforcement.



Vehicle Country of Manufacture Type Notes Picture
Ford Crown Victoria 22x20px United States Cruiser 100px
Chevrolet Impala 22x20px United States Cruiser 100px
Ford Fusion 22x20px United States Cruiser File:*****
Nissan Altima 22x20px United States Cruiser File:*****
Dodge Charger 22x20px United States Highway patrol cruiser 100px
Toyota Prius 22x20px United States Traffic enforcement cruiser 100px
Ford Explorer Special Service Vehicle 22x20px United States SUV 100px
Chevrolet Tahoe 22x20px United States SUV
Westward Go-4 Interceptor 22x20px United States 100px
Cushman Scooter 22x20px United States 100px
John Deere Gator 22x20px United States 100px
Lenco Peacekeeper 22x20px United States Armored vehicle 2 in use by the ESU
Lenco BearCat 22x20px United States Armored vehicle 2 in use by the ESU 100px
ESU Radio Emergency Patrol 22x20px United States Emergency Service Vehicle Adapted Ford F-550 100px
ESU Heavy Rescue Truck 22x20px United States Emergency Service Vehicle 100px
Communications van Communications van 100px
Communications Division Command Post Communications van 100px
Bus Police bus 100px
Nova RTS Template:CAN Police bus 100px
Modified Blue Bird All American 22x20px United States Mobile command post 100px
Modified Hummer H1 22x20px United States Disorder Control Unit vehicle 100px
AgustaWestland AW119 Template:ITA Helicopter 100px
Bell Helicopter Bell 412EP 22x20px United States Helicopter File:****


New NYPD officers are allowed to select one of three 9mm service pistols configured in double-action only (DAO): the SIG P226 DAO, Smith & Wesson model 5946, and Glock 19.[24] All are modified to a 12-pound (53 N) trigger pull. All of the service pistols utilize hollow point bullets, as do most law enforcement service weapons in the United States.

Fictional portrayals



See also


  1. US DOJ Statistics 2003
  3. "Property Clerk." New York City Police Department. Retrieved on November 5, 2009.
  4. From database to crime scene
  5. [1][dead link]
  6. Greenhouse, Steven; Barbaro, Michael (August 22, 2008). "Deal Raises Officers’ Pay 4% a Year". New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  7. NYPD Officers Get 17 Percent Raises over Four Years
  8. Police Officer Contract Breakdown
  9. "2005 Duties, 1985 Pay". New York Daily News. June 29, 2005. 
  10. Pierre-Pierre, Garry (October 8, 1995). "They're Tried, They're True, But How Long Do They Stay?". The New York Times. [dead link]
  11. "Offers Higher Salary: Upstate City Makes Case to NYPD Cops". The Chief-Leader. October 6, 2006. 
  12. Hersh, Joshua (January 7, 2008). "Unlikely Recruits Heed the Call of the Sagebrush". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2010. 
  13. White, Michael (April 4, 2008). "Seattle Police Department Scheming to Steal cops from the Shrinking NYPD". The New York Daily News. 
  14. "To Protect and Serve On Another Front; In an Increasing Job Migration, Police Officers Make the Switch From Crime Fighter to Firefighter," by Kevin Flynn, The New York Times, May 31, 1999, Section B; Page 1, Column 2; Metropolitan Desk
  15. "Cops Entering FDNY Back At Bottom on Pay; Council Enacts Deal Made Under UFA Wage Accord," by Ginger Adams Otis, The Chief-Leader, April 14, 2006
  16. "P.D. Holds Hostage Its PAPD Applicants," by Reuven Blau, The Chief-Leader, January 26, 2007, Page 1, Column 2;
  17. "Rule NYPD Can Withhold Officer Files From PA; Has Effect of Blocking Transfers to Gain Higher Pay," by Reuven Blau, The Chief-Leader, January 26, 2007, Page 1, Column 4;
  18. "Cop Exits Up 11%; Pay Prime Factor," by Reuven Blau, The Chief-Leader, March 7, 2008.
  19. "Alarm Over Cop Exodu$," by Larry Celona and Bill Sanderson, The New York Post, January 25, 2007, Page 4, Column 1.
  20. "9/11 by the Numbers". New York Magazine. September 11, 2002. 
  21. "The Officer Down Memorial Page". 
  22. New York City police officers who died in the World Trade Center attack [2]
  23. Gearing up for a new FDNY
  24. "Training Bureau". Retrieved 2009-12-02. 

External links

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