The New York Police Department (NYPD) is experiencing a record number of resignations. As of June 2022, more than 1,500 officers have either resigned or retired. This marks “the largest exodus of officers since the statistics have been available,” according to the New York Post.
An August report noted that many of New York’s finest are quitting before they even get their pensions. Oakland, California, is also experiencing a record number of police departures, according to a report from March. And last month, the entire police force of Kenly, North Carolina, quit.
Across the country, America is witnessing the same trend: Police forces are having unprecedented, catastrophic problems with retaining personnel. Consequently, homicide numbers for the first half of 2022, based on data from 23 cities, are 39 percent higher than they were in the same time period of 2019, according to a July report in Time magazine.
What is going on?
The Predictable Progressive Playbook
Much of the blame seems to lie at the feet of progressive politicians and police chiefs who were installed to “reform” police departments following widespread calls to “defund the police” in the aftermath of the 2020 death of George Floyd. Media reports indicate these ideologues are applying the same blinkered, anti-racist, leftist strategies across the country, with predictable results.
Take Charlottesville, Virginia, which hired RaShall Brackney, its first black female police chief, following waves of violence in 2017 “to restore public trust” in the city’s police force. A self-described “liberal Democrat,” Brackney implemented radical change by disbanding highly coveted special units and taking disciplinary action against six members of the city’s SWAT team, which she later disbanded.
Many officers called Brackney “heavy-handed,” and her leadership style was alienating. Mike Wells, president of the Central Virginia chapter of the Police Benevolent Association, noted the city’s force has “lost faith” in Brackney. A survey of the entire force found that an overwhelming majority of officers distrusted her. She resigned last year.
In New York, officers have cited “anti-cop hostility, bail reform, and rising crime” as reasons for quitting. “The city is out of control — especially since bail reform,” according to a former cop from Queens. This same officer told the New York Post that a common ethos is “get out while you still can.”
New York City even has a council member who has demanded the “racist”’ NYPD be closed down. And last week, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the U.S. House who represents parts of New York City, further delayed a public-safety bill that would have provided fund grants for local police departments to bring on new hires. AOC is a longtime proponent of defunding the NYPD.
In Oakland, a police union has blamed the recent exodus of officers on the lack of support from the Oakland City Council. “Just stop the rhetoric,” urged Oakland officer and president of the police union Barry Donelan in a recent letter. “Don’t blame Oakland Police Officers for everything that ills Oakland. That’s what we see from the council on a regular basis.”
In Kenly, North Carolina, the entire police force resigned in July in response to the town’s “progressively responsible” town manager — whom police chief Josh Gibson accused of creating a “hostile work environment.” And in Hillsborough County, Florida, State Attorney Andrew Warren developed a reputation for letting criminals go and not prosecuting crimes, angering police and leading Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove him from his post earlier this month.
Condescension Comes from Ideology
The bevy of nonsensical police reforms pushed for by leftists reveals the left’s blatant disrespect for America’s police forces.
Leftists have been downplaying their “defund the police” rhetoric for many months, given the alarming rise in crime across the country, especially in increasingly unpoliced urban areas. “Even Democrats are now admitting ‘Defund the Police’ was a massive mistake,” wrote CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza last November. But recrafted messaging can’t disguise the fact that the left’s ideology is one inherently at odds with what American police forces represent.
Police forces are necessary to address crime and in upholding equality before the law. And given that a disproportionate amount of crime occurs in black communities and is committed by black criminals, police officers will spend a disproportionate amount of their time addressing issues that arise in these communities.
But left-wing ideology, which is now fully under the sway of anti-racism ideologues, demands that the country’s police departments must be dismantled.
Police work is also inherently violent and physically coercive, which is why it’s no surprise that women make up less than 13 percent of police officers nationally.
Policing naturally lends itself to men because it is a profession that demands a high degree of physical and mental tenacity that is most readily found in those with high testosterone and who are physically able to engage wild drunks, abusive boyfriends, and the mentally unstable. Yet liberal ideology indicts men who manifest such traits as guilty of “toxic masculinity,” “heteronormativity,” and perpetuating “the patriarchy.”
In other words, as much the left tries to present itself as pro-police, its underlying ideology is decidedly against them, their identity, and their mission. Thus even when they don’t defund them, they can’t help but lecture them about how terrible they are.
In May, Adam Graham, a mayor from the state of Oklahoma, aggressively confronted two police officers in the middle of a routine traffic stop because he assumed they were engaged in racial profiling of a black driver despite one of the officers being black.
Until the left departs from its radical racial ideology, police officers will keep departing from their jurisdictions.