The NYPD is currently facing a personnel crisis as it is losing officers to better-paying opportunities and facing a high rate of resignations. NYPD pension data shows that in January and February 2023, 239 police officers left the force, a 36% increase in comparison to the same period in 2022. The loss of officers in 2023 is 117% more than in 2021. This will be the highest loss of officers in the NYPD in the first two months of a year since the NYPD saw 250 officers resign in 2007 due to a contract dispute.
The NYPD’s headcount currently sits at 33,822 uniformed officers. This number is below the budgeted headcount by 1,208. The police force’s current headcount is 2,467 officers short of the 36,289 of 2020. This indicates a continuing trend of police officers leaving the force. This issue is also shown in the number of officers that have resigned or retired from the force.
In 2022, 3,701 officers resigned or retired from the force, the highest number since 2002. The number of resignations and retirements in the first two months of 2023 is higher than those in 2022 and 2021, sitting at 262.
The NYPD officer exodus has occurred for a variety of reasons. Members of the NYPD have complained about the forced overtime, remuneration that does not reflect the workload, dangers of the job, and anti-police sentiment.
Maria Haberfeld, a police science professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, spoke about how some of her students, who are NYPD officers, complain about forced overtime. “Forced overtime can be effective only for a limited period of time before people just start collapsing mentally and physically. You cannot just keep people in forced overtime forever,” she said.
“The NYPD staffing emergency is approaching the point of no return,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch. “We are losing cops to better pay and benefits in other policing jobs almost every day,” he said as he called on the NYPD to amend the typical officer contract and offer a competitive wage and benefits for officers.
Some of the high numbers of officers leaving the NYPD have pointed to better salaries and benefits offered for working elsewhere. Officers are leaving the NYPD to work in Florida, Connecticut, or other counties that are safer than the city.
In some instances, NYPD officers are leaving the department to work for the MTA. Alexandre Tilan, who spoke to The NY Post, left the NYPD for a new opportunity at the St. Petersburg Police Department in Florida. He said his job in Florida offered better support, higher pay, and less stress.
“The allure and luster of the NYPD is gone for now. They need to restore that,” said Spero Georgedakis. “We had four or five New York City police officers reach out to us last week,” he said. “They saw the spots, and we gave them [salary] quotes.” Georgedakis is a native of New York City who grew up in Queens. However, he served as a SWAT Team member in Miami and now works to recruit officers from the NYPD.
Following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Derek Chauvin, New York City, the United States, and the world exploded with angry protests of yet another black person’s death at the hands of police officers. This led to widespread anti-police sentiment and calls for police forces to be defunded. This has surprisingly caused ill feelings and low morale among police officers. This is one of the reasons why police officers are resigning and retiring.