Police exodus: Officers leaving their jobs at a "never before seen" rate

The Vice-President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Steven Casstevens, said they struggle with recruitment and retention.

Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) President Patrick Yoes warned at the third annual Faith & Blue conference in Washington, D.C., about a crisis brewing in law enforcement. In his words, security officers are leaving their jobs at a rate never seen before. He also pointed out the difficult situation in the country where law enforcement has been demonized:

We see law enforcement officers leaving our profession at a rate we have never seen before. Because of the actions, and the turmoil that has occurred over the last two years, right now we have a labor crisis.... Unfortunately, we are at a very difficult time in U.S. history. U.S. law enforcement has been demonized by many. It has created a rift within this country and has eroded the very confidence of the institution and profession of law enforcement. And we are paying for it. We are paying for it in our communities with increased crime. And we are also paying for it in law enforcement officers.

Some of the country's top police officials, backed Yoes claiming that several of their departments have experienced a drop of up to hundreds of members compared to the same period last year.

Dire situation

With crime on the rise, movements like Defund the Police are gaining popularity in the country. The lack of resources for the police may be one of the greatest threats to U.S. citizens. Law enforcement is charged with defending citizens from crime and, according to data released by the Major Cites Chiefs Association homicides in major cities have increased 50% since 2019.

So far this year, more than 210 police and law enforcement officers have been shot while working, 14% more than at the same time last year, according to data provided by the FOP. Line-of-duty officer deaths soared 55% from 2020 to 2021, according to statistics from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

Rev. Markel Hutchins, CEO of Movement Forward, told the Fox network that law enforcement agencies will not be able to recruit, retain or attract new talent if police officers continue to work in the same circumstances and situations in which they work now:

The stress and anxiety caused by the tensions we have seen have driven law enforcement professionals away. There is no way to reduce crime and no way to attract new talent to law enforcement if we don't change the debate and move the narrative back away from the talking points that divide us.

Steven Casstevens, Vice-President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said they struggle with recruitment and retention. He emphasized the noticeable shift in applications for jobs:

Thirty-five years ago, in one of my former agencies, when we advertised a vacancy in law enforcement we received probably 800 to 1,000 applicants. Today we have 50. This did not happen overnight. There are many reasons.

Washington and New York among the most affected cities

Robert Contee, chief of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department commented to Fox News that his office employs 300 fewer officers than when he began his tenure in 2021: "That's significant for our police department." Contee, who also spoke as a member of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, said the need for more staff and staff retention has "a big impact."

Police officers are out there working every day, when they are overworked it's because we don't have adequate staffing . That impacts judgment, it impacts officers' interactions with the community and it impacts a lot of things.

With respect to the Big Apple, the New York Post reported that 2,465 Police Department officers have filed their papers to leave the agency so far in 2022. This includes the 71% who did so before they were entitled to their full pensions. The figure is a 42% jump from the 1,731 agents who left the job at the same time in 2021, the report notes.