Police officers are retiring and quitting at record levels

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Police officers across the country are retiring and quitting at record levels.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, for example, saw retirements increase by 37 percent in 2020. But they claim the rise isn’t related to the push for police reforms across the country.

Steve Grammas, president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association sees it differently. He said he suspects that retirements are spiking in jurisdictions where political leaders have called for dramatic changes to police procedures.

New York City’s Police Department saw an 87 percent increase in retirements from 2019 to 2020. Union officials in the largest police force in the nation say the exodus is being fueled by pressure by racial advocates to defund police or impose major reforms.

In addition, nearly 20 percent of Minneapolis police officers retired or took leaves of absence following the death of George Floyd. It could get worse. Minneapolis city officials are waiting to see if the leaves of absences become retirements. “It’s serious,” said the VP of the board of trustees for the Policemen’s Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago. “A lot of these people aren’t retiring. They’re quitting,” he said.

Portland, Oregon, has seen months of unrelenting riots. Police officers, some high ranking, are leaving in droves because they say they are “overworked, overwhelmed, and burned out.” These, and some very cutting comments, were part of 31 written exit interviews. Of the 117 officers who left, 43 of them simply quit.

CHANGES IN RETIREMENT AND RECRUITMENT

Police shortages are so severe in some cities that they’re recruiting using billboard signs.

Other cities and states have even gone so far as to change the laws to amend their retirement guidelines.

On Monday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law a bill that would allow police officers and firefighters to retire with 20 years of service. S1017, known as the “burnout bill,” now allows public safety workers to retire with a pension regardless of their age. Previously, retirees had to be at least 55 years old.

Rob Nixon, the New Jersey Police Benevolent Association’s government affairs director, said historically only a small percentage of members opt for early retirement. Members receive a reduced benefit. But that was in the past. Things have changed.

Local government officials are concerned about these pension changes. Some cite the additional strain on their already underfunded public employee pension systems. The problem will increase as more officers retire and draw their pensions.

Not only are retirements up, but recruitments are down. The Peoria (IL) County Sheriff’s Office is offering a $10,000 sign on bonus for patrol officers. And they aren’t alone. Police agencies participating in a recent survey reported a 63 percent decrease in police job applications.

Bloomington (IL) Police Chief Scott said, “We have some other officers who, given the overall climate towards law enforcement right now, are just saying, you know what, I’ve had enough and they’re deciding to retire.” In 2020 alone, 264 police officers were killed in the line of duty, a staggering 96 percent increase from 2019.

QUALIFIED IMMUNITY AND POLICE REFORM BILLS

But given the potential changes in qualified immunity for law enforcement officers, early retirements are expected to increase. The modern case for qualified immunity was established by the Supreme Court’s 1982 Harlow v Fitzgerald decision. Qualified immunity shields officers from prosecution and lawsuits in most instances.

Recently, however, there have been calls to change or eliminate the immunity protections currently afforded law enforcement officers. Last month, the New York City Council passed police department reforms. Among other things, the city ended qualified immunity.

The Illinois General Assembly also just passed a police reform bill. “There’s over 2,500 officers who are 50 years old right now with over 20 years of service who can start collecting a pension tomorrow. And I don’t know what to tell ’em to keep ’em here,” said Chicago’s FOP President John Catanzara.

Whatever the reason, one thing is for sure. The number of law enforcement officers who are retiring and quitting is increasing and the number being recruited is decreasing. Defunding the police may end up being a moot point.


Image from: news4sanantonio.com


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2 COMMENTS

  1. Great meme showing comrade Willem Defoe smiling and the caption, defund the police how will you enforce your gun laws.
    The enlightened evolved faculty lounge fellow travelers are the ones that we have been waiting for…to supply endless laughs.

    • Choom, this is on purpose. Lack of police presence causes large spikes in crime, statistically. When it gets really bad, it will be used as an excuse to Federalize the remaining rookies and unprincipled cops, to enforce unconstitutional laws. To say the least.

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