The New York Police Department (NYPD) is facing a significant exodus of its officers, with over 2,500 members leaving their positions so far in 2023.
This alarming trend is marked by a 43% increase compared to the 1,750 officer departures recorded in 2018, pre-pandemic and before the city experienced surges in crime.
The current departures represent the fourth highest in the last decade, according to the NYPD’s pension data.
An unprecedented number of officers are also resigning before reaching the 20-year mark, which is necessary for full pension eligibility.
This number has escalated from 509 in 2020 to 1,040 this year, indicating a 104% increase.
Patrick Hendry, President of the Police Benevolent Association, attributes this increase to an overwhelming workload. “The workload is a leading factor driving people away from the job,” Hendry stated.
He further emphasized the necessity for the NYPD to find sustainable solutions other than overburdening the remaining officers with excessive hours.
The situation is further aggravated by the city’s planned cancellation of the next five Police Academy classes, a move that is set to reduce the NYPD’s size to the lowest it has been in decades.
The cancellation is part of the city’s broader budgetary constraints, which Mayor Eric Adams linked to the ongoing multi-billion-dollar migrant crisis.
Officers typically stay in service for over 20 years to qualify for full pension benefits, which usually amount to 50% of their final average salary.
However, the demanding nature of the job is pushing many to reconsider their tenure.
The reduction in staff is already profoundly impacting the remaining officers, with reports of extended work hours and minimal rest.
A 45-year-old officer told the New York Post that he has been working around 13 to 14 hours a day due to city protests, a schedule that has led to extreme exhaustion.
Similarly, a younger 28-year-old officer from Queens described the job as becoming “unbearable.”
On Wednesday, November 22nd, approximately 800 off-duty NYPD officers gathered at Antun’s Catering Hall in Queens for a retirement seminar, focusing on learning about their retirement benefits.
Plans are in place to host a similar event for another 800 officers next month.
During the seminar, a Queen’s officer with over 19 years of service expressed concerns to Fox 5 about the changing public attitudes toward police.
“There’s a level of disrespect out in the street in regard to police officers. Like people yell things at you and whereas before, you know, people say thank you, thank you for being here. Thank you for protecting us,” the officer remarked.
The trend of officers leaving the NYPD began intensifying after the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020, which fueled nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
This incident, with bail reform and rising crime rates, has contributed to growing dissatisfaction within the NYPD ranks. According to recent data, assaults against NYPD officers have surged by over 25% this year.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, questioned the rationale behind the city’s decision to cut back on police hiring.
“When you look at the number of resignations, you need to ask yourself why would the mayor even consider making cuts to hiring in the NYPD?” Giacalone said, expressing concern over the potential worsening of the situation as officer numbers continue to decline.
In response to the concerns raised by the police union and the challenges facing the NYPD, Mayor Adams, who has a background in law enforcement, recently agreed to a new contract with the Police Benevolent Association (PBA).
This agreement includes pay raises and higher starting salaries for new recruits.