Since the BLM protests began, police retirements have increased by 45% nationwide and police resignations by 18% between April 2020 and April 2021, according to a survey of nearly 200 police units.
The alarming statistic was revealed by the Police Executive Research Forum on Sunday, June 13.
In New York, 2,600 officers retired in 2020 after 1,509 retirements the year before.
In Portland, Oregon, 69 officers resigned, and 75 retired between April 2020 and April 2021. That was in comparison to 27 resignations and 14 retirements the year before.
In Seattle, Washington, resignations almost quadrupled to 123 from 34, and retirements more than doubled to 96 from 43.
Last August, an average of more than one officer was quitting their job every single day. In 2020, more than 200 Atlanta officers resigned or retired. At present, the force remains more than 400 officers under its authorized level.
In Asheville, North Carolina, Police Chief David Zack said that he had lost about one-third of his staff to resignation and retirement—more than 80 officers out of a full complement of 238.
“Certainly with the way that police have been portrayed and vilified in some cases, they have decided that it is not the life for them,” he stated.
Last year, cities with large demonstrations saw a large number of police officers leave.
The aggressive tactics some officers used against protesters often compounded the vitriol against the police.
New York City saw large-scale BLM marches during which some participants threw bottles at police and set their patrol cars on fire.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus (coronavirus) pandemic had an impact as well, with towns cutting funding and some police officers determining that risking their health by being exposed to the virus was jeopardizing their families. The pandemic also brought a surge in the most violent crimes.
“It is an extremely difficult time to be a police officer,” said Maria Haberfeld, a professor of political science who trains police officers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
On the other hand, Chief Zack and others pointed out that the police had previously experienced comparable moments of crisis and low morale but that the past year’s challenges had been more persistent.
Police are pressured to accomplish too much. They deal with mental health issues, addiction, and homelessness, as well as the occasional missing puppy.
In addition, officers are subjected to intense scrutiny due to body cameras and witness telephones, which enhance the probability that they will be held accountable for misconduct.
Police departments face severe challenges in retaining and recruiting officers. Officials have started a frantic campaign to try to recruit more officers.
The New York Police Department recently dropped its $40 registration fee for anyone who wants to take the police test. In April, the number of persons who applied increased by roughly a quarter, with 14,502 people joining.
The Atlanta Police Department, like many across the country, is also struggling to attract new recruits.
The department plans to hire 250 new recruits in the next fiscal year.