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Police Work isn’t as Dangerous as We Think

The Myth of the Hero Cop

The hero cop narrative is also belied by the facts. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, police work does not crack the top-10 list of most dangerous jobs. Loggers have a fatality rate 11 times higher than cops, and sanitation workers die in the line of duty at twice the rate that police do. Yes, police officers are sometimes shot and killed, but this is a fairly rare phenomenon. Indeed, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, of the 100 officers killed in the United States in the line of duty in 2013, far more crashed their cars or were hit by cars than were shot or stabbed. In fact, if you compare the murder rate among police officers with the murder rate in several American cities, you find that it is far safer to be a NYPD officer than an average Black man in Baltimore or St. Louis.

Moreover, we pay our police officers handsomely in New York City. It costs taxpayers more than $8.5 billion a year to pay for the NYPD, and between salary, overtime, and the value of their benefits, the average beat cop costs the taxpayers more than $150,000 per year. That is not an argument for paying police officers less, just that we already pay these civil servants a lot more money than most people realize to do a job that is a lot less dangerous than most people imagine.

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