New York, NY – More than 1,500 New York Police Department (NYPD) officers have either retired or quit so far this year, setting a record for the biggest exodus ever in one year.
NYPD pension statistics obtained by the New York Post showed that 524 officers had resigned as of May 31, and another 1,072 officers have retired.
That number – 1,596 departures in total – is up 38 percent from the same time last year, according to the pension board statistics.
It was up a shocking 46 percent from the number of officers who left NYPD in 2020, according to the New York Post.
Only 1,092 NYPD officers had left the force by the end of May two years ago.
Interestingly, the pension board statistics do not match the figures that NYPD has released to the public, the New York Post reported.
NYPD figures showed just 1,091 officers had left as of May 31, 505 short of what the agency responsible for officers’ retirement showed.
The department has claimed that 494 officers had quit and 594 retired, the New York Post reported.
One NYPD officer who left the city to join a Long Island police department told the New York Post that the general anti-cop hostility in the city, combined with bail reform laws that put criminals back on the streets faster than they can be arrested, has driven the exodus.
“The city is out of control — especially since bail reform,” the former officer who was assigned to a precinct in Queens said.
He said the mantra for NYPD officers now is to “get out while you still can,” the New York Post reported.
The former officer said working patrol “got worse and worse” over time.
“The last few years so many people had been leaving and manpower was so low that you’d go to work and you’d answer 25 to 30 jobs a day and you’re burnt out by the end of the day,” he explained.
He said “there was no time for law enforcement” because it was “radio run, radio run, radio run all day long,” the New York Post reported.
The worst was that even when he made an arrest, the suspect was “back in the precinct picking up their property the same day” because New York bail reform laws allow all but the most violent of criminals free to go free without bond.
“Residents would ask, ‘Why does this keep happening?’ and I would have to explain to them, ‘This guy is going to be locked up tonight, but tomorrow night he’s going to come down your block again, he’s going to be on the same corner, you’re going to see him in the same stores [committing crimes]. I wish there was more we could do. But we can’t,’” the former officer recalled.
NYPD officers can retire with a full pension equivalent to 50 percent of their salary after 20 years on the police force, the New York Post reported.
“Last year the number of cops who quit before becoming eligible for their full pension was the highest in two decades. This year we are on pace for the highest ever recorded,” a source said.
The former Queens patrol officer said he knew of at least four other officers who had switched to police departments outside the city, the New York Post reported.
“Cops who made the move before me said, ‘It’s a decision you have to make. You can’t turn this job down. The quality of life is better, they treat you more like a human being than a number,’” he said.
He said he was advised to look out of state for jobs in Florida, Texas, and Arizona but he chose Long Island because “my friends were all going to the Port Authority, Nassau, Suffolk, MTA [police departments].”
The former NYPD officer said he’s stayed in close touch with his former co-workers and that morale has “plummeted” even more than when he was there, the New York Post reported.
“When I ask, ‘How are things?’ the response is ‘Horrible. Worse than when you left and it’s only been six months,’” he said.
NYPD Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Patrick Lynch said the mass departures would have repercussions for the city, the New York Post reported.
“The NYPD is sliding deeper into a staffing crisis that will ultimately hurt public safety,” Lynch said. “Low pay, inferior benefits and constant abuse from the City Council and other anti-cop demagogues has pushed attrition to record highs.”
He said NYPD was “struggling” to recruit enough cadets for police academy classes, the New York Post reported.
“We need more cops working more hours to turn the tide of violence, but there is only so much overtime they can squeeze out of the cops who remain,” Lynch explained.