Former NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell stepped down amid a steady stream of New York’s Finest beating her to the exits, according to troubling new data obtained by The Post.
Through June 30, 648 officers quit before retiring this year — a 22% spike from 2021, when 530 left, and an 87% rise from 2020, when 347 quit, NYPD pension data show.
The concerning “voluntary quits” — combined with NYPD recruiting problems leaves the 34,000 uniformed officers “at least 1,200 short,” the police union said.
“Cops are being squeezed from every direction. They are working inhumane amounts of forced overtime. The brass is pushing for more enforcement, while the police-oversight complex is pushing to ruin more cops’ careers,” said Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry, who reps “just over” 21,000 rank-and-file officers.
“Many cops can’t afford to keep taking that risk because the pay is still too low,” he added. “The NYPD will not be able to recruit its way out of this staffing emergency. It needs to make the job livable for the cops it already has.”
Officers typically work 20 years or more to collect their full pension, which can equate to 50% of their final average salary. The data obtained by The Post shows those who are “running their time,” or using accrued days off before they exit. Those cops are still counted in the NYPD’s own stats as being on the force.
At the current rate, nearly 1,300 cops are projected to resign this year before qualifying for retirement — on pace to match last year’s record 1,297 early exits.
The exodus began after Minnesota cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd on May 25, 2020, sparking nationwide protests and calls to defund the police. Anti-cop hostility, bail reform, and rising crime have fed into frustration among the NYPD rank and file.
The latest Finest exodus has been sparked by the “continued piling on ” by the City Council and police watchdogs, insiders told The Post.
The City Council, which is poised to pass a sweeping package of bills that would force the NYPD to file millions of reports on even the most minor encounters with New Yorkers.
The measures also would mandate cops speedily turn over officers’ body-camera recordings to state investigators, and that the department disclose more information about traffic stops and internal operations.
And a bill pushed by Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — Intro. 586-A — would require officers to file a report on all low-level “police-civilian investigative encounters.” These are instances where the person the police officer is engaging is not considered a suspect or being stopped, questioned and frisked.
Williams has taken heat for pushing new restrictions on cops — while he traverses the city with an NYPD security detail and lives on a gated federal army base in Brooklyn.
“Jumaane Williams lives in an ivory tower behind locked gates and fences, while he advocates for less cops to work in the communities that need them the most,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“John,” a single, 26-year-old Bronx cop with five years on the job, said the “crazy” bail reform laws and Williams’ “nonsensical” proposals are an example of the “huge disconnect” that has him pondering greener pastures.
“They want to bury officers under unnecessary paperwork that will create a further rift between the community and the police,” he said, adding that the public might not want to cooperate as freely, in say, a missing child call, because now it has to be documented.
The Bronx officer called anti-cop actions from the legislature and the City Council “an endless onslaught” by individuals living “in a bubble,” likening the demoralizing drumbeat to “death by a thousand papercuts.”
The NYPD said it regularly monitors attrition and “plans accordingly to address the loss of officers who retire or leave the department for a variety of reasons.”
“While recent events outside of the department continue to present challenges to recruitment efforts, we continue to focus on the positive results that happen when someone joins this organization. Year to date 2023 we have hired more than 1,400 individuals in addition to the approximately 2,000 individuals we hired in 2022,” the NYPD added.
Number of cops who have left the NYPD in 2023 through June 30
Year/Retirements (with full pension)/Resignations (without full pensions)/Total
Source: NYPD pension data