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Mass exodus: 2021 NYPD retirements expected to blow past 2020’s 72% increase in officer’s calling it quits

THE DAILY REFORMER (NEW YORK, UNITED STATES)

NEW YORK CITY, NY – Still reeling from a mass exodus of officers in 2020, the New York Police Department is on track to face even greater losses of officers in 2021, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.

According to Newsday, at his annual State of the NYPD address on January 27, 2021, Commissioner Shea stated that “the attrition that hit the department was a ‘very aggressive’ flood of retirements that continues to force him and his staff to make tough decision on using resources.”

As reported by The Police Tribune, Shea noted that “the number of retirements this year (2021) is already surpassing last year’s rate.” 

According to Newsday, 2020 figures showed an increase of 72% over 2019 retirements.

The vast wave of retirements began in the summer of 2020, a time when the NYPD work environment could only be described as hostile.

Anti-police sentiment raged throughout the country, fueled by a media largely biased against police.

More than 400 police officers were injured in 2020 in the anti-police protests following the death of George Floyd.  Protesters targeted NYPD officers and vandalized police vehicles.

As of September 2020, injuries to NYPD officers showed a 47% increase due to the violent actions of rioters.

The NYPD also had to deal with the movement to defund the police, and they faced a drastic $1 billion budget cut in the summer of 2020.  This cut left law enforcement officials scrambling to allocate resources as overtime was reduced by $352 million and the size of the police force was cut by 1,163 officers, even as violent riots raged.

This budget cut also led to New York Mayor de Blasio’s cancellation of a class of 1200 recruits.

As if the vicious anti-police protests were not enough, NYPD also had to contend with an increase in violent crime overall in New York City.

Commissioner Shea reported at his most recent State of the NYPD address on January 27 that shootings in 2020 nearly doubled over the previous year.

As we previously reported, there were “1,433 shooting incidents and 1,756 victims shot from said incidents throughout the year” as of December 2020.

The NYPD also had to deal with what Commissioner Shea has termed an “open door” when it comes to keeping criminals behind bars.

Shea recently told Pix 11:

“What we’re seeing is a revolving door, or maybe you can just say an open door, where 90 percent roughly of the people that we’ve arrested for guns are out on the street, whether they’re awaiting a disposition of their court case or they’re not prosecuted.” 

He added:

“And that is a real obstacle that we continue to have to face.”

Between June and July of 2020, the NYPD experienced a 411 percent increase in retirement requests over the same period in 2019.

The department even found it necessary to cap the number of retirement applicants the pension section saw per day. 

In the wake of the anti-police violence and sentiment, massive budget cuts, and increasing crime, 2,600 NYPD officers had retired as of the end of 2020 according to Newsday, representing an increase of 72% over officer retirements in 2019.

Newsday also reports that Commissioner Shea has noted that the pace of retirements in early 2021 is slower than last year, but the numbers of retirements are still higher than in 2020.

Shea recently told reporters:

“I mean it couldn’t go any higher, what we saw in June, July, August, September was off the charts.”

Shea also suggested that financial considerations were driving many of the retirements.

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He stated:

“I think it was money, I think it was finances with overtime … because if you tell someone over the next four years you are going to make less money, they have to consider that.”

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told Newsday:

“We practically had a line out the door of PBA headquarters this summer. Dozens upon dozens of talented, experienced cops were stopping by every week to tell us they were pulling the pin; they’d had enough.”  

Lynch went on to say: 

“Nearly 3,000 left.”

Aware of the “disgruntled” state of NYPD cops, acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli even offered in July 2020 to hire officers from the beleaguered department.

He tweeted:

“Hey, #NYPD, @DHSgov would love to have you if NYC doesn’t want you!” 

Cuccinelli continued:

“Come join our team, where you will be appreciated by your political leadership instead of being belittled and treated like you are the problem instead of part of the solution.”

According to the New York Post, many of the “fed-up” officers have been leaving NYPD to seek employment in Long Island’s Nassau County Police Department, due to “an increasingly anti-cop climate in the city and underwhelming pay.”

One source told the Post:

“They are going to a department where they will be better appreciated by their community, local politicians and district attorneys who still value the job they do protecting innocent people and property over criminals.”

What is striking about these career moves is that most officers who are leaving NYPD for Long Island are not older, experienced officers, but cops who are still early in their careers.

The move of this particular demographic will make things even harder for the NYPD, one anonymous Manhattan officer told the Post.

The officer stated:

“The city spent millions of dollars training these cops hoping that they would be around for another 20-plus years.”

The officer continued:

“That money and experience just walked out the door, putting a further drain on the city’s budget nightmare.”

PBA President Pat Lynch pointed the finger squarely at the city’s budgetary considerations when it came to addressing the exodus toward Long Island.

He said in a statement:

“We continue to lose trained, experienced police officers to Nassau County and other departments where they can earn up to 70 percent more.” 

Lynch added:

“It’s yet another sign that New York City politicians don’t really care about improving policing in this city.

“What they want is fewer cops on streets, and their refusal to pay us a fair-market wage is getting them exactly that.”

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NYPD officer shot in the back during ‘gun violence’ enforcement stop

NEW YORK CITY, NY – An officer was shot in the Bronx late Tuesday night in what was the third NYPD-involved shooting in less than a week. The Gun Violence Suppression Division officer was shot in the back during a suspect stop.

According to Commissioner Dermot Shea, the shooting occurred at around 10:29 p.m. in the Soundview section near Lafayette Avenue and White Plains Road in the 43rd Precinct. Officers from the gun violence unit driving through the area encountered the suspect and made contact.

During the encounter, shots were exchanged. Officials believe the suspect fired four rounds and the injured officer fired one round before he was struck once in the lower back. The bullet reportedly struck the officer just below his ballistic vest.

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The suspect fled the scene and was later taken into custody. The suspect has not been named but is described as a male, 24 years old, with an extensive arrest record in the city and in New Jersey. A silver revolver was taken from the suspect.

Commissioner Shea told reporters at a press briefing that the officer was expected to recover:

“(I) visited with him and his family a short time ago. I can tell you he is in a lot of pain, but thankfully we expect him to make a full recovery.”

The officer is 31 years old and has served in the NYPD for six and a half years.

At the press briefing, Mayor Bill De Blasio praised the officer:

“Tonight, we saw extraordinary bravery- extraordinary bravery-. Here is a young officer out there in the streets of the Bronx getting guns off the streets to save lives. That’s what he does: He is someone who goes out and puts his life on the line to protect other people in the most powerful way, by depriving criminals of their firearms.

“Anyone who wants an example of how hard the NYPD works, how committee our officers are, you see it this evening in the Bronx.”

The Mayor went on to praise the officer and his family, several of whom are members of the NYPD:

“It takes a very special kind of person to go out in the streets at night and take a gun off a criminal. Thank God this good man is going to be okay.”

Patrick Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association, made some angry comments about the incident during the press conference, starting out with his arms waving and saying:

“You know, I feel like I’ve said this before. Here we are again. We’re here in the hospital. We’re having a press conference and we’re asking, ‘why’?

“It seems like people are getting numb to the fact that cops are getting shot. We are getting numb to the fact that there are victims in our neighborhoods, victims of gun violence.”

Lynch said that gun violence has increased 100 percent since last year. He said that solutions needed to be found, and that “millions of dollars and thoughts and prayers aren’t going to work.” He said the answer to the gun violence problem is more officers on the street:

“What we need to do is put cops on the street doing the job we know how to do. Train them, hire them, put them on the street, allow them to do the job, and then prosecute the cases when we bring them in.

“We have to stop acting like we have to re-invent the wheel. Policing is simple. Good guys and bad guys. We are the good guys who go after the bad guys. Unfortunately, we are here again because one of the good guys has been shot.”

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The incident may have been caught on a nearby bus camera. The MTA said a BX36 bus in service in the area at the time of the shooting was detained by police because it was equipped with an onboard camera. MTA reported that the bus had no passengers at the time of the shooting, but that the driver had reported hearing shots.

Tuesday night’s shooting was the third officer-involved shooting in the past five days. On Thursday, NYPD officers shot and killed a man chasing a woman while armed with a knife in the Bronx.

An NYPD sergeant and detective were stopped at a traffic signal when they observed a dispute in the street and heard someone shouting for help.

The officers exited their patrol vehicle and observed a man with a large knife chasing a woman in the street. When officers challenged the man to drop the knife, he charged the officers. The officers discharged their firearms, striking the man. He later died at the hospital. The man’s identity has not been released.

Both officers were also treated at a local hospital for undisclosed injuries and later released.

On Sunday, a police pursuit ended with officers shooting a man in the chest in Queens. Officers tracked a cell phone left inside a stolen vehicle and followed the signal to an area where they observed the vehicle.

Officers approached the vehicle when the driver accelerated in reverse at high speed toward officers and struck an NYPD van. One officer fired at the vehicle, striking a 28-year-old passenger in the chest.  The passenger was hospitalized and expected to survive.

The 21-year-old driver was taken into custody without further incident. The officers were not injured.

Homicides and shootings have risen sharply in New York over the last year. Officials point to NYPD being spread thin by the pandemic and responses to large protests in response to the killing of George Floyd as one cause.

Murders in New York City rose 45% to 462 in 2020, up from 319 in 2019. According to police statistics, the city recorded 1,531 shootings in 2020. That represents a 97% increase from 2019 when 777 shootings were recorded.

The number of people shot has more than doubled over the last year. In 2020, 1,868 people were shot. That is up from 923 in 2019.

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