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New York City Police Force Shrinks as Officers Flee Amidst Crime Spike

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Exodus of Officers

The nation's largest police force is facing a major staff shortage as New York City plans to cancel the next five Police Academy classes. According to NYPD pension data, a total of 2,516 officers have left the force so far this year, a 43% increase compared to 2018. The number of officers quitting before reaching the 20-year mark for full pensions has also skyrocketed by 104%.

Forced Overtime and Workload

With officers leaving and a lack of new hires, those who remain on the force are being subjected to "inhumane amounts of forced overtime," says Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry. The workload is a leading factor driving officers away from the job, and Hendry warns that the NYPD cannot continue to squeeze its officers for more hours if it wants to survive these staffing reductions.

Drastic Cuts and City-Wide Belt Tightening

Drastic cuts will reduce the NYPD to its lowest level since the mid-90s, with just 29,000 officers by the end of fiscal year 2025. These reductions come as the city faces a multi-billion-dollar budget crisis, which Mayor Bill de Blasio has blamed for the need to tighten belts across various departments.

Triggering Factors

The exodus of officers began after the murder of George Floyd by Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin in May 2020, which sparked nationwide protests and calls to defund the police. Anti-cop hostility, bail reform, and rising crime rates have all contributed to frustration among the rank and file of the NYPD.

Rising Crime and Concerns

Assaults against NYPD officers have surged by more than 25% this year alone, adding to the challenges faced by the force. Retired NYPD sergeant Joseph Giacalone warns that as the number of resignations continues to rise, the situation could take a dramatic turn for the worse. He questions why the mayor would consider making cuts to hiring in the NYPD when the number of officers is already dwindling.