The New York City Police Department lost more staff in the past year than it has in two decades, but leadership “refuses to acknowledge the spiraling nature of the crisis,” the city’s top police union leader said.
Things have gotten so bad that criminals could be emboldened, putting local residents and Big Apple tourists at risk, New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.
“The NYPD is playing a dangerous game by refusing to acknowledge and address its recruiting and retention crisis,” Lynch said in a recent interview with Fox News Digital. “New Yorkers are demanding more police presence in their neighborhoods and on the subway, but we just don’t have the staff to consistently provide that.”
The department needed at least 1,200 new recruits to meet its budgeted headcount and 2,500 new recruits if the force is to return to 2019 staffing levels, according to data released by the PBA last month. Instead got the department 543 recruits.
NYPD OVERTIME WILL INCREASE ALLOCATED BUDGET BY $142M IN 2022 EXCEED USD UNDER AN “UNPRECEDENTED” CRIME CLIMATE
Data from the NYC Police Pension Fund obtained by Fox News Digital shows that 1,955 members of the force retired in 2022 and another 1,746 resigned, meaning a total of 3,701 left the ranks in the last year alone.
It’s the largest number on record in the last 20 years, even higher than in 2020 and 2021, when the massive number of officers leaving the force dominated national headlines. There were a total of 2,811 NYPD members who resigned or retired in 2021 and 3,315 in 2020.
In 2002, 3,846 NYPD members left or left the force, dwarfing last year’s figure, according to the data.
Between 2010 and 2019, the department lost an average of 2,112 members, meaning retirements or terminations in 2022 are up 75% compared to the average in the decades before the pandemic.
“A lot of talented, dedicated recruits don’t want to raise their hand for the NYPD because they get paid better and treated better in almost every other police department,” Lynch told Fox News Digital. “New York City needs to invest heavily in paying its cops and treating them like professionals. It cannot afford not to.”
The NYPD’s understaffing is far from an isolated problem. Departments across the country are facing similar crises, especially in major cities.
Philadelphia is preparing to lose more officers this year than the city expects to take on recruits. This deficit is exacerbated by the fact that the department already has at least 1,000 fewer officers than it should be, according to the local police union leader.
New Orleans has been forced to bring in police officers from across the state to help with the upcoming Mardi Gras parades and celebrations as the police force operates with a shortage of officers.
THESE POLICE DEPARTMENTS SEE THE WORST PERSONNEL SHORTCUTS IN THE UNITED STATES BEFORE 2023
And in Baltimore, a judge last month warned that the city’s police staffing crisis is so bad it cannot be “overstated”. And the top chief of the local fraternal order of police said if city leaders don’t beef up incentives and retention bonuses for recruits and cops, “the mayor and the commissioner are just covertly draining this Baltimore police department.”
“This regime, am [Baltimore Police Department]is in full survival mode due to a net loss of over 300 cops [Police Commissioner] Harrison’s watch. Crime is still out of control as one would expect given the lack of a plan to tackle violent crime and an exodus of officers over the past four years,” Mike Mancuso, president of the Baltimore City Fraternity of Police Order, told earlier this week Fox News Digital.
The staffing issues plaguing departments across the country stem from the “defund the police” movements and anti-cop rhetoric of 2020 sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. After Floyd’s death and amid the shutdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, protests and riots erupted coast-to-coast, and many police officers retired, quit, or changed departments amid the fallout.
BALTIMORE POLICE PERSONNEL CRISIS REACHES DIFFICULT LEVELS, FOP BOSS AND JUDGES WARN ‘UNDERCOVER’ DEFUNDING
At the same time, crime has exploded in many areas of the country. Nationwide, 2020 homicides rose nearly 30% from the previous year, marking the largest increase in killings in a year since the FBI began prosecuting such crimes.
Some pundits have attributed the spike in murders to a range of issues that have been clashing this year, including anti-police rhetoric, a culture of lawlessness promoted by liberal prosecutors and the so-called “Ferguson effect,” the theory that police are pulling back from a community , leading to an increase in violent crime.
Jillian Snider, a former NYPD officer and associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told Fox News Digital that the NYPD “began to abandon policing in 2019,” but that didn’t become an issue “until the rhetoric got around.” the disappointment of the police “Hit the News” in 2020.
She argued that the NYPD needed to encourage solid recruits to join the force.
“A lot of other agencies in this country, if you have a college degree or other skills, there are minimal sign-up bonuses or something that compensates you,” Snider said.
“For example, if you’re doing a master’s degree or a law doctorate or a Ph.D. you will receive a stipend a year because it is assumed that you probably have some school debts. NYPD does none of that.”
NYC DETECTIVES STRUGGLE TO KEEP THE PEACE WITH LOW STAFF AND LACK OF SUPPORT
The NYPD is said to have 35,030 employees but had 33,822 employees as of Jan. 11. At the end of 2019, the department employed 36,289 people.
NYC’s PBA characterized the staffing issues as a storm of variables that caused officers to leave, including burnout, as police face growing demands and scrutiny as fewer people shoulder the workload. Union officials have previously highlighted data saying they are being paid at least 30% less than the average for other officers in the New York City metro area, while morale in the ranks has plummeted.
The New York Post reported this summer that the NYPD was relaxing its fitness requirements amid the wave of layoffs and retirements and was working with other departments to expand its pool of applicants to fill staffing gaps. Snider has criticized such plans as something that would open up a department to hiring potentially “bad cops.”
“Last year there was talk of lowering some standards because they were so desperate for people. I don’t think that’s wise,” Snider said. “Don’t make it easier to hire bad cops. We have no incentive to be a cop in the NYPD.”
NYC MAYOR ERIC ADAMS STILL ONE YEAR IN OFFICE BURDENED BY CRIME, DESPITE DECLINE IN HOMMINGS AND SHOOTINGS
Some crimes happened in New York City last year, the first year in office of Democratic Mayor Eric Adams. Compared to 2021 data, shootings decreased by 17% and homicides by 11% in 2022. But robberies, burglaries, assault, grand larceny and other crimes continued in the city, resulting in a 22% increase in serious crime compared to 2021.
At the PBA, Lynch and his team have hammered out the issue in public statements, including last month when the union boss praised the drop in homicides and shootings. But he said public safety will be an issue until police officers are properly paid and not overworked.
“The public safety improvements announced today are a testament to what the NYPD can achieve when it directs enough attention and resources to an issue,” Lynch said in a January press release after the NYPD released its year-end crime statistics.
“The bigger problem is that we simply don’t have the staff to do this consistently in every neighborhood and for every crime category. New York City cannot meet its public safety goals by underpaying and overtaxing cops on the street. “
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Fox News Digital contacted Adam’s office about the NYPD’s staffing issues and Lynch and Snider’s comments to Fox News Digital, but was referred to the NYPD.