Suffolk County is set to dramatically boost its police ranks — including by potentially siphoning off cops from the NYPD who are furious over the Big Apple’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone will announce Monday that he is hiring 705 law-enforcement personnel, bucking the “defund the police’ movement in his own party, sources said.
“This is the largest one-year increase in law-enforcement personnel in Suffolk County history,’’ said Bellone, who is eyeing a run for governor, to The Post on Sunday. “We have opposed the slogan, “Defund the Police.’ ”
But Suffolk’s gain could be the NYPD’s pain — as scores of Big Apple officers are furious over Mayor Bill de Blasio’s vaccine requirement for city workers, including police, by Monday.
Suffolk County cops are not required to get the shot.
“The [NYPD cops] who don’t want to get vaccinated, they’re going to run to Suffolk County,’’ a longtime city policeman told The Post.
The 20-year NYPD veteran said the fact that Suffolk cops don’t need to get the vaccine is just the cherry on the top of reasons to defect to Long Island.
Starting pay for both NYPD and Suffolk cops is currently about $42,000 — but while city cops max out at $86,000 annually, the Long Island officers’ wages nearly double, to $155,600, after 11.5 years of service.
“Suffolk County? That’s the Lotto!’’ the police source said. “Anyone who goes to Suffolk, we say they hit the Lotto.
“If they go to Nassau [County], we call it the ‘Scratch-Off,’ ” the cop quipped.
“Less work and more money, and you’re more appreciated for doing your job,’’ he said of the Long Island police departments.
The source added that even if there were a vaccine mandate in Suffolk, defecting NYPD cops wouldn’t gripe — because the money eases the pain.
“If Suffolk required the vaccine, these guys would be like, ‘You can stick that s–t in my arm.’ It’s night and day,’’ he said, referring to how cops are treated in the city versus on the island.
Bellone said he did not impose a mandate and instead worked closely with the unions to boost vaccination rates.
The county executive, asked about the possibility of NYPD cops coming to Suffolk departments to avoid the city’s vaccine mandate, replied, “We are constantly recruiting individuals to take the police exam and encourage anyone who wants to become a law enforcement officer in Suffolk County to consider signing up.”
Bellone is set to formally announce his plan to add cops at the county’s police academy in Brentwood.
He will earmark 462 of the new police jobs for the Suffolk County Police Department, sources said.
The new jobs come courtesy of federal emergency COVID-19 funds received under the American Rescue Plan.
The county is using $71.3 million of ARP money to compensate for a loss of property-tax revenues during the pandemic.
The Suffolk executive said the number of law-enforcement personnel will be higher than it was pre-pandemic, not merely filling holes caused by retirements.
Unlike spikes in crimes in New York City and elsewhere during the pandemic, Bellone said total crime in Suffolk has dropped 6.8 percent year to date, and robberies are down 19 percent.
He said the infusion of new police officers will help maintain Suffolk’s status as one of the safest suburban counties in the country.