Which upstate New York communities have the highest police pay by local and regional standards? The answer can be found in What They Make, the Empire Center’s annual examination of local government payrolls, which includes average total pay for uniformed police officers employed by 166 towns, cities and villages across upstate.
The police department in each region with the highest average pay was:
- Capital Region: Guilderland Town Police, 35 officers, $94,996
- Central New York: Syracuse City Police, 430 officers, $89,335
- Finger Lakes: Rochester City Police, 711 officers, $97,723
- Mohawk Valley: New Hartford Town Police, 23 officers, $75,542
- North Country: Potsdam Village Police, 12 officers, $75,572
- Southern Tier: Ithaca City Police, 65 officers, $85,414
- Western New York: Amherst Town Police, 149 officers, $109,282
The highest average pay among upstate city police departments was in Buffalo, where 723 officers were paid an average of $100,632. All four upstate police departments with average pay over $100,000 were found in Erie County. They were Amherst, Buffalo, Lancaster town ($100,296) and Hamburg village ($100,089).
Individual pay records for the 7,885 upstate police officers are searchable on SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website. Upstate is defined here as the 48 counties north of Dutchess and Ulster Counties.
Uniformed police and fire employee contracts are negotiated under a provision of the state Taylor Law that allows police and fire unions to seek binding arbitration. The binding arbitration statute, which was renewed earlier this year, has been linked with causing police and fire pay to increase at more than twice the rate of other local government employee pay between 1974 and 2012.
The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies to make New York a better place to live, work and do business.