Sergeants Benevolent Association of the NYPD







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Dear Prospective Sergeant,

Congratulations on successfully passing the competitive civil service test and being placed on the Promotion to Sergeant list. You should be both proud of and excited about your accomplishment. Being a New York City Sergeant can be one of the most challenging but fulfilling positions in all of law enforcement.

Achieving a promotion to Sergeant is not easy. You faced tremendous competition and will experience a difficult transition. As a Police Officer or a Detective, you are a “worker.” As a Sergeant, you are both a “worker” and a “supervisor.” You will now be called upon to answer radio runs as you did previously, but seconds later you will be called upon to be the “Boss.”

No other rank in this Department wears both hats like Sergeants do. My father, who joined the Department almost 60 years ago, always said, “Sergeants run the Job,” a saying that still rings true today.

You are now in a position to choose to become frontline supervisors in charge of policing the most culturally, ethnically, economically, and politically diverse city in the world. You will be called upon to make split second decisions that could make the difference between life and death. Your decisions can have long-term, life-changing ramifications for the officers you supervise, as well as the public you serve.

Your actions will be critiqued and second-guessed by your superiors, as well as elected officials and the media. If you are involved in a controversial incident, your actions or inactions will be broken down frame by frame and second by second.

With this amount of responsibility, you would think that your employer, the City of New York, would recognize and fully appreciate the enormous magnitude of your new job responsibilities. You would assume that the City would compensate you accordingly for achieving this hard-earned and well-deserved promotion.

Sadly, and inexplicably, that is not the case. As things stand now, depending on your promotion date, you will earn between $15,000 and $25,000 less than the Police Officers or Detectives that you will be supervising. This disparity does not even include overtime, which is usually less accessible for Sergeants. It is also possible that someone who has a higher list number than you and is promoted 6 months after you will be earning more than you.

You must be thinking “How is that possible? I passed a competitive test, and will be assuming a greater workload, more responsibility, and increased scrutiny and I am being paid less?”

These egregious disproportions are a result of what is called “attrition bargaining.” This municipal sleight of hand makes New York City the only place in the free world where a law enforcement promotion comes with a decrease in pay.

As SBA President, it is my duty to be straight and honest with you, regardless of whether the news I’m delivering is good or bad. As happy and proud as I am for you, I urge you to seriously consider whether accepting the promotion to Sergeant and/or the timing of the promotion is most beneficial for you and your family.

I assure you that the SBA is doing everything in its power to rectify this unfortunate situation. If this promotion is going to cause financial hardship to you and your family, or there are other areas of concern, it might be worth considering other options at this time. The City and the Department expect a lot from you. One thing they should not expect is for you to take a cut in pay, especially when it is directly related to a promotion.

CLICK HERE to view the Pay Differential Chart to assist in you in deciding if you should elect to be promoted and what dates would be most advantageous for you to accept a promotion. I realize this is a difficult decision and I wish you the best in assessing what is right for you and your family.