Police retirements surged after George Floyd killing, data finds

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Cops across the country have been calling it a career since the murder of George Floyd in 2020 — which sparked national scrutiny on policing, new research shows.

Several agencies in the nation are seeing an almost 45-percent surge in retirements and departures compared to the year before Floyd’s death in Minneapolis at the hands of convicted cop Derek Chauvin, according to data from the Police Executive Research Forum obtained by the Associated Press.

“It’s a wake-up call,” Chuck Wexler, head of the Washington-based group, told the outlet.

There is a “crisis on the horizon” for departments that need resources, as shrinking staffs and increases in crime create a “combustible mixture,” he added. Hiring has slowed by 5 percent, the Forum also found.

The group’s research focused on a small sample size of US law enforcement agencies – 194 out of roughly 18,000. It used data from April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021 and compared those numbers to the same period from a year earlier.

Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020 led to protests across the country and mounting calls to defund police or reduce budgets for local departments. Anti-police sentiment has risen as elected officials push for more police accountability – and local departments see sagging morale.

The new climate in the country has led department heads to change the way they go about recruiting.

Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant told the AP the department used to seek candidates who had “the strength to be more physical.”

“Today’s police officers, that’s not what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’re looking for someone who can actually relate to the community but also think like the community thinks.”

The forthcoming report is the latest that shows ongoing difficulties in recruitment and retention of officers during the current national divisiveness over policing.

In New York City, there were 272 uniformed officers who put in retirement papers in the month after Floyd’s murder, previous NYPD data showed.

For all of 2020, 5,300 uniformed NYPD officers retired or said they would retire, a 75 percent increase from the year before, according to the data.

Some 2,600 retired and another 2,746 filed for retirement last year, according to the data. By comparison in 2019, 1,509 left NYPD and another 1,544 filed for retirement, the data showed. Another 831 officers retired or filed to leave by April 21.

The exodus comes as police look to recruit a more diverse group of candidates that better reflect the ethnic and racial characteristics of the communities they cover.

A recent report showed out of 4,700 troopers in the New York State Police, only 4 percent were black and 6 percent Hispanic – compared to statewide data showing New York is 16 percent black and 19 percent Hispanic.

With Post wires

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