Maybe it is just me but I think if you agree to take a job exoects you to give up your life to protect mine, your starting pay should be more than $25,100 a year. In fact, it should be more than $36,400 a year. These are the starting annual salaries for the New York City Police Department and the New York City Fire Department, the NYPD being the lowest of the two.

Someone recently told me the starting salary for the NYPD was $25,100. I thought they were joking. “Are you kidding? That’s New York City, bro” I said. “You’re lucky if you can put food on the table for that kind of money.” He as not kidding. And so, I looked at the FDNY’s starting salary too. Yes, more than the NYPDs, but at $36,400, it is a disgrace.

Before I continue here, let me say that I am very biased. The NYPD’s 84th Precinct in Brooklyn saved my life in 1984 when I was held up and shot in the head at point blank range. It was just after five in the morning and a slew of police units were there in a flash. Some might say, So what? That’s there job. But no one with that mindset is thinking it through. These men and women raced to a scene where there was gunfire and one person wounded. They did not know me from Adam. They did not know what they were coming into. A gang fight? Was there still shooting? When they got to me, did they know if the shooter was nearby, and maybe crazy enough to shoot one of them? These are men and women with families. Some are parents, all are sons and daughters, all are human beings. And they raced to help me knowing damned well that where there is gunfire there is the chance of being killed. And there starting pay is $25,100! Are you kidding me? That is a base salary of $483 a week – before taxes. And for firefighters, the base salary is $700 a week – before taxes.

Now I know that there are those who will say, well, they get overtime and good benefits. Others will no doubt point to cases of police brutality and misconduct. My response to this is simple. Cops or firefights who break the law or engage in misconduct do so because of who they are as individuals – NOT because they are cops or firefighters. There is not a profession out there that does not have its fair share of fuck-ups. Have you taken a gander at Washington lately?

For anyone who disagrees with me and thinks I am wrong when I say the starting salaries should not be a penny less than $52,000 a year (Look, $1,000 a week for someone who has taken a job that asks them to give their life to protect yours and mine is not even in the same ballpark as overpaid) – I have a little exercise for you.

Sit back in your chair and relax for a moment. Take a deep breath, exhale slowly. Okay now. Close your eyes and remember the breathtaking courage displayed by so many firefighters and police officers on 9/11. Remember the images of firefighters going up the stairs while civilians were racing down the stairs to safety.

Now open your eyes and repeat the following sentence aloud. I think New York City Police officers should be paid a starting weekly salary of $483 and I think New York City firefighters should be paid a starting weekly salary of $700.

If you are not feeling sick inside right now, shame on you. If you are not feeling sick inside right now, you sure as hell do not have the strength of character displayed by the NYPD and FDNY on 9/11, and you sure as hell do not have the strength of character in the men and women from the 84th Precinct that saved my life. And if you are making $1,000 or more a week – you are probably overpaid.