Voluntary resignations among law enforcement officers jumped 24 percent across 10 departments in major U.S. cities over the last year, according to a new study obtained by Fox News on Thursday.
When compared to the same period a year earlier, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) study found overall voluntary police departures between June 1, 2020 and April 30, 2021 increased by 18 percent. Overall voluntary resignations also increased by 24 percent and overall voluntary retirements increased by 14 percent.
The period that LELDF analyzed represents police activity before and after the death of George Floyd at the hands of then-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, which spurred nationwide riots and activists’ demanding authorities “Defund the Police.”
“In the wake of the anti-police movement and Floyd protests, cops – unwanted and unappreciated by their political leaders – officers are running for the exits. Resignations and retirements at the largest police agencies in the United States are skyrocketing while recruitment is tanking,” said LELDF President Jason Johnson.
The study showed that the riots and overall “Defund the Police” movement were key factors in the mass resignations.
“I wouldn’t take [a job as a police chief],” said former NYPD Commissioner and current LAPD Chief Bill Bratton. “The ability to succeed in this climate … the progressive district attorneys’ policies just aren’t going to work.”
Johnson told Fox News that the study included data from Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Austin, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles County, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Miami-Dade. The researchers chose to focus on the listed cities because of their size, proximity to anti-police events and an increasing number of homicides.
“This is something that we’ve been warning about for years,” D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee told Fox during a news conference. “We don’t really have the ability to hire officers right now. We have a defined amount of resources to deal with a very large city that continues to grow.”
Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said he calls the situation “a crisis because it is a crisis.” In addition to a 63 percent increase in resignations, Austin also saw a 96 percent increase in murders. The city currently has 300 sworn officer vacancies, according to the study.
“When [police] get there, they then likely have to wait for back-up,” said Kevin Lawrence, executive director of the Texas Municipal Police Association. “They don’t have the resources they need to actually address whatever the situation is.”
Adding to the strain on law enforcement nationwide, President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice announced in September it is launching new efforts involving court-appointed monitors who oversee police departments, expanding already-existing tools the DOJ uses to force departments’ compliance with its standards.