NYPD Leaders ‘Refusing to Acknowledge’ Mass Exodus of Police, Union Leader Says

NYPD Leaders ‘Refusing to Acknowledge’ Mass Exodus of Police, Union Leader Says
Police search for a suspect at a subway station in New York on April 25, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Katabella Roberts
Updated:
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The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is experiencing a mass exodus of officers, with thousands of “talented and dedicated” recruits leaving the force, according to a top police union leader.

New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told Fox News on Thursday that despite the rise in officers leaving the force, city leaders are “refusing to acknowledge” the issue.

“The NYPD is playing a dangerous game by refusing to acknowledge and address its recruitment and retention crisis,” Lynch said. “New Yorkers are demanding more police presence in their neighborhoods and on the subway, but we just don’t have the staffing to provide it consistently.”

Approximately 3,531 members of the NYPD retired or resigned from the force in 2022, according to data from NYPD shared with The Epoch Times.

Of those, 2,262 retired and 1,269 resigned.

In 2021,1,651 retired and 1,032 resigned and a year prior, amid the pandemic 2,599 retired and 553 resigned, according to NYPD data.

A demonstrator stomps on the window of an NYPD car as people protest the death of Tyre Nichols in New York City, on Jan. 27, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
A demonstrator stomps on the window of an NYPD car as people protest the death of Tyre Nichols in New York City, on Jan. 27, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Crime on the Rise in New York

It marks the largest NYPD staff exit since the post-9/11 exodus in 2002, according to the New York Post.

The mass migrations come as crime has exploded in New York City in recent years, while calls to defund the police have also increased.

In New York in 2021, there were 264 homicides—the highest number in a decade. While homicides dropped to 253 in 2022, felony assaults increased by nearly 20 percent, while grand theft rose to nearly 17 percent.

Meanwhile, vaccine mandates for city employees and wages that simply aren’t keeping up with rising inflation have further exacerbated shortages.

According to the Police Benevolent Association, the police force needed 1,200 new recruits in January to reach its current budgeted headcount, or 2,500 to get back to 2019 staffing levels.

However, it hired just 543 new recruits.

As of Jan. 11, 2023, the NYPD has 33,822 members and is budgeted to employ 35,030, according to Fox.

Lynch told Fox that the city is simply going to be even more short-staffed than it already is if the trend continues.

“And frankly, I really can’t blame some of these officers,” Lynch said. “Policing has always been a very dangerous job, you always run the risk of danger and being shot or things like that, but in New York City you also run the risk of losing your pension, say, for wrestling with a suspect and compressing their diaphragm.”

Police search for a suspect in a Times Square subway station following a call to police from riders in New York on April 25, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Police search for a suspect in a Times Square subway station following a call to police from riders in New York on April 25, 2022. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Better Pay Elsewhere

“You’ve lost qualified immunity so you’re now under some personal liability for doing your job, and of course, we have more investigatory entities than investigative police officers than almost any other large city, so it’s almost not even worth it anymore for New York City police officers to be police officers because everything is really stacked against them,” Lynch added.

New York cut qualified immunity, which insulates government officials from civil liability for their conduct, for police officers in 2021 in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The police union leader noted that many “talented, dedicated recruits don’t want to raise their hand for the NYPD” because they can get paid better and treated better elsewhere.

He added that the city needs to bolster investments in paying and treating its police officers “like professionals,” adding that “it can’t afford not to.”

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, echoed Lynch’s comments in an interview with the New York Post, stating that the city is “bleeding blue and I think the blue line will get thinner.”

“At this rate, continued public safety weighs in the balance. I’d be more concerned at the resignations than the retirements. Cops are leaving for better pay, benefits, and working conditions,” Giacalone said.

The NYPD told The Epoch Times by email, "The NYPD regularly monitors attrition and plans accordingly to address the loss of officers who retire or leave the Department for a variety of reasons. While recent events outside of the department continue to present challenges to recruitment efforts, we continue to focus on the positive results that happen when someone joins this organization.

“In January 2023 we hired more than 500 individuals who have begun training at the Police Academy in addition to the approximately 2000 individuals we hired in 2022.”

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