Crime-fighting pays!

Nearly all of the best-paid public employees in New York state are police officers, according to a new report released by the Empire Center for Public Policy.

The think tank’s analysis found that seven of the 10 best-paid cops in the state work on Long Island — and three are from the town of Ramapo in Rockland County, with a population of 136,299.

Eight of the top-ten highest-paid officers cleared $300,000.

Ramapo’s Chief of Staff Tom Cokeley ($323,562) and Police Chief Brad Weidel ($317,795) were the two top compensated, with a combined $641,000 in pay and benefits, the Empire Center found.

An officer working the front desk at the Ramapo police department headquarters said that neither man was in this week.

No one answered when a Post reporter knocked on the front door of the sprawling two-story spread with a well-manicured front yard in Suffern that Weidel calls home.
Attempts to contact Cokeley were unsuccessful as well.

“Certainly officers that have been here for a long period of time have built up nice size salaries,” said Michael Specht, the town’s supervisor, who pointed out both have been on the force for roughly four decades.

But Specht said the final totals reported by the Empire Center included leave both men cashed in as well as overtime for Cokeley.

“Their base salaries are much lower,” he insisted.

On the island, the following cops were paid more than $300,000: William Whitton of Glen Cove, Tom O’Shea and Ron Scarzilli of Old Westbury, Steven Bobrik of Kings Point and Thomas Park of the Nassau County Police Department.

“The higher police and fire salaries reflect the impact of a binding arbitration law that makes it difficult to restructure costly compensation packages,” said E.J. McMahon, the center’s research director.

All told, local law-enforcement officers made up 47 of the top 50 highest-paid public employees during the state’s most recent budget year. The Nassau County department alone accounted for 14 of the 50 best-paid employees.

The Empire Center’s report did not include New York City government employees because they pay into the separate city-run pension systems, not the state program, which is where the Empire Center got its data.

The data show that law-enforcement officers in New York City’s suburbs are the best paid in the state, on average.

Police officers in Suffolk County topped the list, making $162,000 annually. Cops in Westchester and Nassau counties were right behind, bringing home $149,000 and $137,000, respectively.

The top earners in the suburbs made at least one-third more than New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill, who took home a salary of $232,352 in 2017 while policing a city 63 times Ramapo’s size.

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Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
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Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

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About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

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