How Much Should It Take to Run A Police Department?

Chief Michael Sullivan

Chief Michael Sullivan

Ramapo’s 104 police officers were paid an average of $173,361 last year, making them the highest-paid town police in New York, according to the Empire Center’s 2015 “What They Make” report. The amounts listed in the report DO NOT include fringe benefits such as health insurance or employer pension contributions, which can add 35 percent or more to the cost for taxpayers.

Users can search the 175,327 pay records of town, city, county and village employees on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.

Chief Peter Brower with Supervisor St. Lawrence

Chief Peter Brower with Supervisor St. Lawrence

Peter F. Brower, who retired as Ramapo police chief last September, was the highest-paid local government employee in ALL OF New York last year. Brower was paid $369,088.

Clarkstown’s 163 police officers were the second-highest paid town police in ALL OF New York state, averaging $166,719.

ALL 10 of the Mid-Hudson region’s highest-paid local government employees were Ramapo or Clarkstown police!

In 2014 Bill Bratton was sworn in as New York City’s top cop to oversee a force of 34,500. His salary is $208,286.

Captain Mahon (center) with Sullivan and Supervisor Gromack

Captain Mahon (center)

Here are the third, fourth and fifth highest paid employees in our region – all senior officers in the Clarkstown Police Department …. Chief Sullivan $272,037 , Captain Mahon $270,753 and Captain Ovchinnikoff $260,190.

All three are paid more than New York City’s top cop Bratton. The police chief of Clarkstown has a salary 30% higher than Bratton, yet manages a police department that is 0.5% the size of the police force supervised by Bratton.

Overtime in Clarkstown runs at over $3 million per year or approximately $10,000 PER DAY.

Captain Ovchinnikoff

Captain Ovchinnikoff

Clarkstown’s Taxpayers are paying $802,980 per year for the three top officers to manage a police Department of just 163 officers. Add to that an additional cost of 35% for their fringe benefits and one can see why Clarkstown is in danger of going belly up.

This is fiscal madness and Clarkstown’s taxpayers are footing the bill with loss of their property values through their property taxes.

We suggest that it is time for the incoming Clarkstown Town Board to consider a radical idea – that of outsourcing Clarkstown’s Police Department as the PBA contract expires or consolidating it with one or more of the other police departments in Rockland County to reduce management costs and increase operational efficiencies.

Don’t say “It can’t happen“. That mantra has been the repeated wail of pessimists over the past several years. Winning an election in Clarkstown without the Sparaco/Lettre controlled minority party lines? – “It can’t happen!” County Executive Day defeating the block vote in Ramapo? “It can’t happen!” Defeating Supervisor Gromack’s million dollar campaign war chest? – “It can’t happen!” The Titanic Sinking? – “It can’t happen!” Communism collapsing in the Soviet Union? – “It can’t happen!

No one gets into trouble from reaching too high – one gets into trouble from accepting too little. To date Clarkstown has accepted whatever is the least damaging contract it feels it can get away with. With that minimalist thinking it is now facing fiscal trouble.

Why is the Town of Clarkstown afraid to allow all of its contracts to expire? In the real world where economic theory has to prevail a business goes out of business if it enters into destructive contracts. When individuals are given contracts and such contracts come to an end, one then parts ways unless entering into further contracts is in the economic interest of BOTH sides.

The contracts with Clarkstown’s top cops and the PBA should be allowed to expire.

Every police department has “traditional” outsourcing projects: IT, administration, records storage and the like. But now “real” police functions are on the table in other geographical regions. It may be cost, or political beliefs (private services are better than public) that starts the call for outsourcing but outsourcing is the coming trend.

In Rockland County as in Westchester County, there are multiple overlapping police departments. Every Town and village has its own sheriff or police department. Rockland County has its own management top-heavy structure in every town and in the Sheriff’s Department. It is killing Rockland’s taxpayers. There are also state highway patrols. It’s very confusing and more than a bit arbitrary. It’s also VERY inefficient. But each municipality, however small, wants autonomy. And that has a cost. The value of these overlapping police functions are now being called into question across the nation.

We suggest that the incoming Clarkstown Town Board not “call into question” or declare “it can’t happen” when some bold and immediate moves are needed immediately to fix the cost problem associated with Clarkstown’s Police Department.

About Michael N. Hull

Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

About the Author
Michael N. Hull has lived in Rockland County for 35 years where he writes articles on philosophy and political affairs. Hull has written over 300 articles for New City Patch and Rockland Voice. He is presently a senior editor of the Facebook page Clarkstown: What They Don't Want You To Know and a senior editor of Rockland Voice.

Related Posts