May 5 2021 Police across the United States are leaving their jobs at a record rate amid budget cuts, policy changes and protests against violent law enforcement, U.S. media reported. The move has raised fears among police insiders that crime rates across the country will continue to soar on the basis of a surge in homicides.
According to the Washington Times, police officers have been leaving police positions across the country over the past year. An estimated 5,300 officers have left the NYPD, and the Seattle Police Department has left more than 200.
In the country’s capital, 300 of the 3,700-strong Metropolitan Police handed over their badges.
The massive wave of departures has shocked the force, with officials saying “criminal activity is spreading in many different areas” and detectives are “overwhelmed” and “almost not having enough time to answer 911 calls, let alone find violent criminals.”
Reports say mass departures began in May 2020 in Floyd, sparking protests across the country over racism and police brutality and calls for “abolition” and “restrictions” on police, with some local councils slashing police budgets.
The move led to a large number of police officers deciding to leave the force, which they described as “the most ill-considered move ever” and “you’re going to have to work overtime and patrol the streets with a tired body” that management wouldn’t consider when it came to recruiting new officers.
At least nine cities slashed police funding last year, while homicides rose nearly 68 percent, according to a Washington Times analysis. Even district-level units in cities have cut police budgets and violent crime has increased significantly.
Cities like Washington, D.C., have cut their police budgets and their homicide rates are at their highest in 16 years by the end of 2020. As of Tuesday, crime statistics showed that homicides in the city were up 35 percent from a year earlier.
Currently, the D.C. Police Department has fewer than 3,300 regular officers on the job, the lowest number in decades. Gregg Pemberton, president of the local police union, said the figures were heading in a disastrous direction and police officers on duty were becoming increasingly tired.
He suggested that unless parliament changed certain rules, “police officers will continue to leave the force and crime rates will continue to soar” and that, in the end, “the most vulnerable communities, often minority communities, suffer the most”.