In the wake of last year’s unrest across America’s cities and continued attacks on the integrity of law enforcement amid a series of police-involved fatalities, officers everywhere are facing unprecedented levels of pressure.
With anti-cop sentiment reaching fever pitch in some sectors, it should come as no surprise that New York City alone has seen a 75% increase in the number of police officers either retiring or voluntarily quitting their jobs in 2020, according to the New York Post, in a disastrous phenomenon being repeated in municipalities nationwide.
Over 5,300 uniformed NYPD officers – or 15% of the entire force – sought to retire or resign last year, a development attributed to the anti-police brutality riots that shook the country last summer after the death of George Floyd and subsequent calls from the left to defund or dismantle departments, according to the Post.
Retired NYPD officer and criminal justice professor Joseph Giacalone described the situation bluntly, telling the outlet, “Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them. NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.” The anti-police atmosphere permeating local government in the Big Apple is a major contributing factor, according to Giacalone, and the City Council’s March decision to eliminate qualified immunity protections for officers has turned “the job [into]…a minefield.”
Pat Lynch of the city’s Police Benevolent Association explained his belief that local government in New York is attempting to abolish policing, but is doing so in a somewhat indirect manner, stating, “They’ve kept our pay absurdly low. They’ve ratcheted up our exposure to lawsuits. They’ve demonized us at every opportunity. And they’ve taken away the tools we need to do the job we all signed up for.”
Lynch went to to argue that despite the “slick recruiting ads” purportedly meant to attract new blood to the force, City Hall is in fact attempting to achieve “police abolition-through-attrition,” suggesting that “they won’t stop until the job has become completely unbearable, and they’re getting closer to that goal with every passing day.”
New York City is not alone in the escalating exodus of experienced police officers, as communities all across the country are beginning to panic about thinning ranks. As WTOP in Washington, D.C. reports, Fairfax County, Virginia Coalition of Police President Sean Corcoran says that officers in that locality are “in a tailspin, pure and simple,” blaming a notable increase in violence on the fact that the department is already down 188 officers, 25 are likely to leave by July 1, and “dozens of recruits have been leaving each academy session.”
Philadelphia is yet another large American city grappling with a serious officer shortage, with local police union spokesperson Mike Neilon telling the Philadelphia Inquirer last week, “It’s the perfect storm. We are anticipating that the department is going to be understaffed by several hundred members.” As Pat Colligan, president of New Jersey’s largest police union explained the situation to the outlet, saying:
Every action has a reaction. When you vilify every police officer for every bad police officer’s decision, [people] don’t want to take this job anymore. It’s been a very trying and difficult time to put on the badge every day.
Radical leftists who have demanded defunding or “reimagining” police departments may soon find themselves forced to reverse course – as was the case in Minneapolis last year – once the vulnerable communities they claim to represent stand up and demand more law enforcement resources, not fewer, and the old adage about being careful what you wish for assumes an especially poignant relevance.