Amid a nationwide climate of anti-police sentiment, the number of officers leaving the New York Police Department spiked by 75% this year.
The facts: 5,346 officers retired or quit the force in 2020, up from 3,053 in 2019, the New York Post reported, citing department data.
- As of April 5, there are 34,974 uniformed NYPD officers, down from 36,900 in 2019.
- The departing officers make up roughly 15% of the force.
- “Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice told the Post. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”
- Giacalone highlighted the city’s proposed removal of qualified immunity — which will expose the police to a host of legal liabilities — as a motivating factor.
The context: Calls to radically reduce or outright abolish police departments have gained traction following the May 2020 death of George Floyd, who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
- “Any real agenda for police reform must look not to make the police friendlier and more professional,” Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociologist and author of “The End of Policing,” argued in a piece of The Nation in Dec. 2014. “Instead, it must work to reduce the police role and replace it with empowered communities working to solve their own problems.”
- But critics of “defund the police” movements point to increases in violent crime last year in multiple cities that slashed law enforcement budgets.
- Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of black Americans — 81% — report that they do not want police presence in their communities reduced, while 72% say they are satisfied with their local police.