NYPD experiences 75 percent increase in departures and retirements

Approximately 2,600 officers departed while another 2,746 filed for retirement

As anti-police sentiments continue to intensify across the country after a string of high-profile police brutality cases, officers are now leaving the New York Police Department in record numbers.

More than 5,300 NYPD officers have retired or submitted paperwork to leave the force in 2020, a 75 percent increase from the previous year, according to department data, per the New York Post. Approximately 2,600 officers departed while another 2,746 filed for retirement. In 2019, a total of 3,053 left the force.

From the beginning of this year through April 21, 831 officers have already retired or filed for permanent leave, and many more are expected to follow suit.

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Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says the intensity of the anti-police climate has led to many officers departing.

“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Giacalone said. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”

Giacalone expects a “long, hot summer ahead” after the New York City Council voted on five bills and three resolutions in an effort to increase police accountability and “reimagine public safety,” according to their press release. Giacalone says it’ll be easier to sue police officers, ultimately turning “the job [into] a minefield.”

Members of the NYPD congregate in Times Square near a police precinct for a security briefing as security throughout the city is increased ahead of a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 in New York City. Across the nation and world, people are waiting for the verdict in the trial in which the former Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the neck of George Floyd and is on trial for killing him. Demonstrations erupted around the world following Floyd’s death. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

“The Council’s legislation would end qualified immunity for police officers in New York City by creating a new local civil right protecting New Yorkers against unreasonable search and seizures and against excessive force and ban the use of qualified immunity, or substantially equivalent immunities, as a defense,” the press release states.

NYC Council member Stephen Levin said the vote intends to “provide the people of New York City an important tool for accountability when law enforcement violates their rights.”

An NYPD spokesperson confirmed the “surge in the number of officers filing for retirement.” Adding that “while the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a trend that we are closely monitoring.”

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Pat Lynch, Police Benevolent Association President, said “the Mayor and City Council are absolutely trying to abolish the police.”

“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, which is to keep our communities safe,” Lynch said.

“Now the NYPD is spending money on slick recruiting ads to replace the experienced cops who are leaving in droves. City Hall should just admit the truth: police abolition-through-attrition is their goal. They won’t stop until the job has become completely unbearable, and they’re getting closer to that goal with every passing day.”

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