The New York Police Department has seen an 87 percent increase in retirement filings in 2020 compared to last year as cities across the U.S. continue to face anti-police protests and riots.
Almost 2,400 officers have reportedly submitted retirement papers this year, a significant jump from the 1,274 retirements over the same period in 2019, Fox News reported. The NYPD told Fox News in an email that 372 others have resigned as of October 6.
Between March 26 and October 5, 1,838 NYPD officers retired, an 84 percent increase from the 999 that retired during the same period last year. The current headcount at the NYPD is almost 34,500.
Union officials believe the “troubling” exodus is in large part due to nationwide calls by racial justice advocates to defund or abolish police departments.
“The NYPD has seen a surge in the number of officers filing for retirement,” a department spokesperson reportedly told Fox News. “While the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a troubling trend that we are closely monitoring.”
One of the biggest losses to the department was Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo, who oversaw the Patrol Services Bureau. The first Dominican chief of patrol filed for retirement after over 20 years on the force.
“Fausto, when I tabbed him last year to be the chief of patrol, I never hesitated for a second, and I never regretted the decision for a second,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told Fox 5 in New York. “Probably one of the most well-rounded individuals that we have. The total package. [A] huge loss and I wish him the best of luck.”
NYPD union president Patrick J. Lynch shared a statement on Twitter that said Pichardo’s early retirement “is what happens when elected officials play political games with police department operations…City Hall’s amateur-hour meddling has left the NYPD broken, almost beyond repair.”
Lynch told Fox News that the department “has never seen so much talent and experience walking off the job as we have these past few months,” and asserted that some of the NYPD’s best talent from all ranks was being pushed away.
“This is the highest attrition rate we have seen in over a decade, during a time we are battling enormous spikes in shootings and murders,” Lynch wrote. “And thanks to the City Council and Mayor’s ‘Defund the Police’ lunacy, no help is coming any time soon. Our elected leaders need to be held responsible for the dangerous path they’ve chosen.”