Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is upset with New York City Mayor Eric Adams for agreeing to raise the salaries of New York Police Department officers under an agreement with New York’s biggest police union. The salary raise will mark NYPD’s first in several years.
AOC was asked about the officer raises on “The Daily Show,” where she was speaking to promote Jacobi’s “Stand Up to Violence” program – “in which shootings are investigated by social workers without police involvement.”
Ocasio-Cortez spoke openly.
“We are in New York City, and you’re talking about funding violence prevention outside of the police and yet Eric Adams has just increased police wages by 28 percent. Is that misplaced?” host Jordan Klepper asked.
“I think so,” AOC answered. “We are now at a point where officially; most officers are paid more than a teacher with a master’s degree serving these same kids involved in these same incidents. We are defunding safety, defunding our public schools, defunding our public pools, defunding our parks, defunding our libraries. When we are taking all of those resources and demanding that every single department – except the militarized one – be cut, we are sending a message about who and what we care about.”
Breaking Down AOC’s Comments
There’s a lot to unpack here. Some of what AOC has to say has value. Namely, teachers should absolutely be getting paid more. And we should be allocating resources towards public schools and parks and pools and libraries – those should be priorities, whereas they are often neglected. I can get behind that sentiment.
But I would agree similarly that police officers are underpaid and too often underappreciated. To get up on “The Daily Show” and gripe about police officers getting their first salary raise in almost a decade – a decade that featured an economic collapse, highest-in-a-generation inflation, and soaring interest rates – seems misguided. Right now, for example, rookie cops are making $42,000. That’s not appropriate. After the salary raise, rookie cops will take in $55,000.
Cops deserve to be compensated properly because, first and foremost, they’re providing an invaluable public service. That’s clear to me. Actually, a lot of the problems in my home state stem from a lack of police presence. But AOC is still in that 2020, post-George Floyd rebel against the police mindset. AOC speaks for the people who went all-in on the Defund the Police movement – which in my opinion, was, in both political and practical terms, one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard suggested.
That’s not to say that contemporary policing is beyond criticism. It’s not. Cops mess up all the time, and they should be held accountable when they do so; cops should be held to the highest standard because their job is so important and because their margins for error are so slim. But the idea that we don’t need police on our streets is incompetent.
Second, cops deserve to be compensated properly, because, like I’ve mentioned, police work is important work and it’s hard work; police work deserves and requires talented individuals – and you’re more likely to attract talent if you can compensate that talent in a way that allows them to put gas in their car, feed themselves, buy a home, raise a family – you know, the basics.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.