Star-Ledger Study: NJ (and Hoboken) Police earn most in nation: $90K plus

The Star-Ledger published a detailed analysis on NJ Police pay and how it compares across the nation.  Their conclusion:  NJ Police are the best paid in the nation, especially in the northern part of the state and it has nothing to do with the local challenges of crime and everything to do with the individual township.

Hoboken fell full square right in the median, the number of officers who are paid above and the number paid below coming in over $90,000 per year.  But other nearby towns pay more, most clustered in Bergen County.

Violent crime is also measured in the statistics across the state and weighted for pay.  Here too the data shows higher crime rates have nothing to do with compensation for police officers.  Areas with serious crime such as Newark, Camden or Irvington are paid lower on average than other areas of the state with far less crime.

Hoboken is charted with data taken from 2009.  Compensation comes in a bit higher as measured in Hudson County $90,082 vs. $90,208.  Thirty percent of the force is making $100,000 or better.

Not Just Salaries

The article details the cost for police are higher than what the public typically imagines, breaking down the pension costs contributions from towns:

Police pay more into the pension fund than civilian public employees do: 8.5 percent of their salary, rather than 5.5 percent. But they also cost municipalities more. For every dollar a town pays a police officer, it owes 31 cents to the pension fund, Neely said. By comparison, towns pay 11 cents for each dollar paid to civilian workers.

Big Bang Costs to towns
There’s much more to police compensation than just salaries. L. Mason Neely, East Brunswick’s longtime chief financial officer, said a police officer making $100,000 a year may cost a town twice that when benefits, pension payments and other expenses are considered.
Overtime is one of those major expenses. Police are paid extra to work outside of regular hours, such as attending court hearings or pursuing long investigations. There’s also overtime when working holidays or covering shifts for sick colleagues.

Hoboken’s police unions are facing their first ever challenge at reorganization.  They have not publicly stated their position on raises as arbitration looks the likely route, but other Hoboken residents have urged they construct a solution to save the jobs of younger members.  From the article, the state PBA spokesman says it should work toward saving jobs:

Jim Ryan, spokesman for the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, said the union has encouraged its local chapters to go without to save fellow officers’ jobs.
“If they’re going to lay off officers, and you’re going to make concessions to keep these officers, make concessions,” he said.

Hoboken is scheduled to make layoffs by Friday.  Half of the 36 layoffs will come from the Hoboken police’s bottom ranks of service due to PBA bumping rules if no agreement is reached with sufficient retirements to offset the announced layoffs.

The City has earlier stated retirements would be taken into consideration and be a tool to offset any need for layoffs.  The Hoboken police unions have stated the city surplus of $12 million makes any layoffs unnecessary.  (video below)
If you are interested in the full article, it can be found here:

Star Ledger editorial:

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