The NYPD faces a potential leadership crisis due to a sharp decline in the number of cops who want to be promoted to captain — and a surging failure rate among those who do, reports The New York Post.

Only 21 percent of the lieutenants eligible to take the captains test did so last year, down from 66 percent in 1997, according to internal NYPD figures.

The results of the 2013 exams haven't been released, but only 19 percent of lieutenants scored a passing grade of 70 or higher on the test in 2012, the data show. That year, only 19 percent of eligible lieutenants took the captains exam. That dismal performance was the worst in 15 years.

"It comes down to salary and schedule," said Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association. "My union needs to work on the salary part through collective bargaining, and the NYPD [has] to normalize the schedule captains maintain."

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