NYPD experiencing unprecedented rise in officers retiring or resigning

Officers are leaving the NYPD at a historic rate.

It comes at a time when the city claims big crime is down, but CBS New York discovered that this is not true in all neighborhoods.

Reporter Jennifer Bisram investigated why police are leaving and what is being done to retain and recruit them.

There are safety and community issues in the Big Apple.

“More officers are needed because of the positive impact they have,” said Denean Ferguson, a religious leader and community organizer.


Ferguson is a trusted voice in Queens’ Rockaways, where the number of police officers has declined. Almost 40% of Far Rockaway’s 101st Precinct officers have retired or left their positions in the previous four years.

“Being seen in the community, around in their cars, in the community in the streets, walking, talking—it gives us a sense of safety,” Ferguson told the audience.

The migration comes as significant violence in the neighborhood has increased by around 9% this year compared to the same period last year.

“We are short nearly 7,000 police personnel from the top levels of the NYPD. “We are losing over 200 police officers every month,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry stated.

The PBA claims that the NYPD has had historically high attrition over the last four years, with more cops departing and fewer joining. According to the city’s Independent Budget Office, 2,931 officers resigned or retired last year, with only 2,345 new hires.

“They’re walking out the doors because there aren’t any extra incentives for them to stay,” he said.

The report also shows that the NYPD has had its lowest number since 1990, when there were 32,451 cops for a population of more than 7 million. Today, 33,541 cops are responsible for keeping over 8 million people secure across the five boroughs.

“Slots must be filled, so we must work overtime regardless of your wishes. Whether it’s for your family or something else, you have to put in the extra hours. “You can’t say no,” Rennington, a housing officer, explained.

Rennington has served with the NYPD for 18 years. He is one of over 1,000 cops about to retire or walk off the job who attended a PBA retirement conference, one of the largest attendances ever.

CBS New York was the only broadcaster present.

Another officer, Johnny, has been with the NYPD for over 20 years.

“The job has changed,” explained Johnny, who lives in Queens. “There aren’t too many cops on the street. They won’t respond to your work in a timely manner.

The PBA proposes numerous items of legislation to help in recruitment and keep cops on the job longer.

“They will help some of our seasoned employees stay on the force,” Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer-Amato said. “We have a prior service credit bill. Some people work as traffic officers or EMTs and then take the officer test in order to join the force. We want their previous credit to count.”

The NYPD said the department periodically monitors attrition and plans to address the issue, adding, “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 the organization.”

“You can ask any of us whether we would do it again. “We all would,” Rennington stated.

Lawmakers hope to add the legislation for cops to the 2019 state budget.

Meanwhile, officers said they will continue to safeguard New Yorkers with the resources they have.

According to the NYPD, 669 recruits were employed in January, with another 600 expected to be hired in April.

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