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Mount Vernon police union says low pay has led to dozens of officers leaving for other departments

Mount Vernon police union says departures impacting public safety
Mount Vernon police union says departures impacting public safety 01:52

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- The police union in Mount Vernon says a wave of officer departures is impacting public safety.

Mount Vernon welcomed nine new officers in May 2020, fresh out of the academy. Three years later, eight are gone. They left to join departments that pay substantially more. 

"A lot of these officers come here and they love the work, they love making a difference in Mount Vernon. So they really want to stay here. It's just that, financially, it doesn't make sense for them," said Mount Vernon PBA President Lt. Nicholas Mastrogiorgio. 

After five years, base pay for Mount Vernon Police is $92,000, versus $133,000 in nearby Greenburgh. 

With almost 90 departures and retirements since 2020, the Mount Vernon PBA said patrol cops have less than two years experience on average. 

"That's a major problem for public safety in Mount Vernon," said Mastrogiorgio.

To be sure, so-called "badge drain" is a problem for the NYPD and other departments. 

"Where hiring is down, resignations and retirements are up. There's a staffing crisis across the country. So what happens is, when a department trains someone, they're more valuable to another department because they can immediately hire them and get them out on the street," said Chuck Wexler, an expert with the Police Executive Research Forum. 

Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard said, "We are aware that our police department is the lowest paid [in Westchester County] and has been without a contract since 2017 ... Responding to badge drain requires a multi-faceted approach."

Cops say a key facet is better pay, and they're hoping Patterson-Howard comes to the bargaining table offering a substantial raise. 

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