NYPD officer retirements increase during COVID pandemic, anti-police protests

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- When the anti-police protests started last May, so did a pandemic exodus from the NYPD -- and the trend continues.

7 On Your Side Investigates found a 72% increase in the number of officers retiring in 2020 compared to 2019.

The number jumped from 1,509 to 2,600. The number of officers who resigned increased slightly as well.

When asked about retirements, the NYPD commissioner said they're to be expected every year, especially during this time of year.

"For example there's a class that comes up July that's on 20 years, it's nothing new we know it's cyclical," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

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Maria Haberfeld is a criminologist and professor who teaches people how to become police officers at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"They basically feel like the profession is under attack," Haberfeld said. "They're under attack on a daily basis whether they do right or wrong, and who wants to go to work every day being disrespected and criticized."

This spring, a new group of officers graduated from the academy to help fill in the ranks. And the police commissioner said people are still applying to become officers.

They reached their goal of signing up new recruits to take the police office entrance exam next month.

"Not only have we moved the needle but we surpassed what we thought we could," Shea said.
But Haberfeld says new rookie officers aren't the same as experienced veterans.

"It's not going to be a positive impact, it's going to be a negative impact," she said. "You can't lose the knowledge and you can't lose the experience at the level that we are losing right now."

However many say new police reforms are positive for the community.

The PBA President released a statement saying:

"Every cop who is eligible to retire is racing out the door, at a time our city can least afford it. New Yorkers are crying out for more cops to stop shootings, more cops to stop hate attacks, more cops to keep our subways safe. Meanwhile, the city is doing nothing to keep our most experienced cops on the job."


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