House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) slammed Democrats in a statement on Sunday amid news that thousands of police officers have quit police departments nationwide as a crime wave rocks the country.
“New York City saw 2,600 officers retire in 2020 compared with 1,509 the year before,” The New York Times reported. “Resignations in Seattle increased to 123 from 34 and retirements to 96 from 43. Minneapolis, which had 912 uniformed officers in May 2019, is now down to 699. At the same time, many cities are contending with a rise in shootings and homicides.”
The crisis at police departments, which followed months of demonization by Democrats who called the police “cancer” and pushed for “no more policing,” comes as homicide rates increased 30% last year and have already increased 24% this year, the Times reported separately.
The Police Executive Research Forum released the following damning numbers from 194 law enforcement agencies this month that highlight the crisis in policing across the U.S. (emphasis added):
- HIRING: There was a 5% decrease in the hiring rate for the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year. America’s largest police agencies, those which have more than 500 officers, experienced a 36% decrease in the hiring rate for the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year. Law enforcement agencies that had 250-499 officers experienced a 29% decrease in the hiring rate for the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year.
- RESIGNATIONS: There was an 18% increase in the resignation rate for the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year.
- RETIREMENTS: There was a 45% increase in the retirement rate for the 2020-2021 period, compared to the previous year.
McCarthy responded to the latest news about the crises at police departments across America by telling The Daily Wire in a statement that the problem was a direct result of Democrats’ attacks on police.
“Over the past year, Democrats’ sustained movement to defund, dismantle, and demonize our cops is taking a toll on our communities,” McCarthy said. “It has manifested in the crime crisis our nation faces today, yet President Biden remains soft on crime and silent on Democrats’ radical policies.”
“Supporting the police and striving for safe communities should not be partisan objectives – they are shared values of the American people,” McCarthy added. “It’s troubling that Democrats continue to vilify the police at a time when they truly need our support.”
The Police Executive Research Forum released some of the following comments from their survey about officer morale, recruiting and hiring, and resignations and retirements in police departments (Quotations are not attributed because respondents were promised anonymity):
- “Officers are depressed over the negative national narrative about the police. They also have pandemic fatigue.”
- “There is considerable concern by my officers over the future of policing. Their significant others are pressuring them to leave the profession. All of my resignations were leaving the profession completely, [not transferring to another department]. Also, there is not a hiring pool to replace these officers. The candidates are non-existent or very sub-par.”
- “We are fortunate to work in a community that still supports its police department. However, the negative climate surrounding law enforcement has definitely affected morale. Officers are researching other careers in preparation to retire once they complete their 20 years of service and are eligible for retirement. This is different from a few years ago, when officers were planning to stay 30 to 40 years with the department.”
- “We have seen an approximate 40% reduction in applicant packets this last fiscal year. In addition, we are seeing fewer ‘above average’ candidates. The current rhetoric and negativity surrounding law enforcement is having a negative impact on the number and quality of applicants we recruit.”
- “Social media is a complex issue that we must all address and look into when hiring our applicants. It has created another layer of investigative background work for my detectives. Social media checks have excluded many candidates from our process, because their thoughts and ideals do not align with the guiding principles of our department.”
- “Applications have decreased dramatically, making hiring extremely difficult. And our officers have fatigue from working long shifts and covering backfill slots to supplement staffing.”
- “We’ve had a more than 50% reduction in the number of applicants for the recruit academy, from an average of 450 per year, to only 205 in 2020. And we’ve seen a 100% reduction in qualified lateral recruits, with zero hired in 2020, compared to an average of 3 to 4 annually since 2008.”
- “We have found that traditional incentives do not resonate with the applicants applying to be an officer.”
- “I’ve been attracting retired officers who want to stay in law enforcement, but don’t want to work in a city any more, due to politics. As much as I appreciate their service, these applicants don’t really add value to my organization. I need people who want to make this agency their career and stay for the long haul, not a person who only wants to work a year or two, on day shift with weekends off.”
- “Hiring has been a challenge. Many who applied could not meet minimum eligibility requirements, failing either the background investigation or polygraph. Minority hiring, a significant goal, has been considerably more difficult. Police accountability has been a source of conversation and concern among those who are hired, and those who left.”
- “We are seeing a significant downturn in ‘new to policing’ recruits, and increasing interest from laterals. An increased number of applicants remove themselves midway through the hiring process.”
- “The number of resignations is higher than years ago. People are retiring as soon as they have the minimum required time, either by age or years of service.”
- “Senior officers who are able to retire are retiring. They enjoy the work and the people, but are not willing to go through another change in law enforcement with little structural input from all parties. And there’s a belief that violent crime will continue to rise.”
- “We have seen the most dramatic increase in retirements / resignations in my six years as chief. Officers who became eligible to retire have done it at the first opportunity. We had a lieutenant resign with 16 years who was not eligible for retirement.”
- “In 2020 and 2021, most of our officers who left did not leave for another department. They left the profession.”
- “It has been difficult to hire back to our full complement for the past five years. With over 25% of our department retiring since 2016, the candidate pool has gotten smaller and smaller. With another large wave of retirements due in the next three years, it could be an insurmountable task for an agency our size.”
- “Our resignations have been at the very ‘new’ level of officers, with under 7 years of service.”
- “Officers are no longer waiting to be ‘maxed out’ at their pension to leave. They are leaving years early, collecting a considerably lower pension.”
- “Both sworn and professional staff are frequently retiring as soon as eligible, with fewer personnel staying on to optimize retirement or simply continue to serve the community. Fewer employees are willing to take promotional exams and advance to leadership positions, requiring us to hire ‘from the outside’ for lieutenants and above.”
- “Sworn officers are seeking jobs outside of urban policing. Officers have made it clear that they do not want to work the streets as a patrol officer or in the schools.”
- “We have seen an increase in separations in all categories. A variety of different issues are presented during exit interviews, but consistently stated is the national climate on policing.”