INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The number of IMPD officers quitting their jobs has reached alarming levels, according to the union president.
“What we are starting to see is signs of a mass exodus from the police department,” said FOP president Rick Snyder.
Snyder spoke out about his concerns because he says city leaders need to get ahead of the problem, reported CBS4Indy.
Moreover, Snyder says in a perfect world, IMPD’s hiring would resemble a funnel, with a lot of qualified candidates coming in and very few leaving.
Unfortunately, he says for a variety of reasons this year, IMPD’s hiring funnel has been turned upside down.
“Logistically, it does not appear possible to out hire the number of officers that are leaving,” said Snyder.
Exactly one year ago to the day, a police vehicle pursuit ended with two IMPD officers shooting and killing an unarmed Aaron Bailey.
As a result, a controversial merit board hearing this year, in which the two officers were allowed to keep their jobs despite the chief’s request they be fired, fractured morale within the department, according to Snyder.
“Officers feel like they are being treated like the bad guys versus having the support they need,” said Snyder.
The FOP president now claims the department will lose 96 officers this year and maybe more. Furthermore, he said there are only 86 budgeted to be hired. That difference comes during a time of record violence.
On the other hand, the police chief said the number of expected departures is actually 85. Although that number is higher than the 69 they initially predicted, most of those are retirements that have nothing to do with morale.
But who do you believe has the pulse of the organization, the FOP president or chief of police?
“It concerns us people are leaving. That’s a lot of knowledge walking out the door, but we’re an older police department,” said IMPD Chief Bryan Roach. “I haven’t heard that anyone retired because of a decision I made or because of morale. This is a different job than it was 20 years ago.”
While the IMPD just swore in a new recruit class this month, many factors, like a strong economy and violence against police nationwide has made it difficult to recruit.
Still, the chief says the goal remains gaining 31 new officers every year for 4 years, for a total of 1,712 at the end of this year.
“I anticipate I may not be at that 1,712, but we’ll have more officers on this department than we’ve ever had,” said Roach.
IMPD is not alone. Law Enforcement Today recently reported on similar problems at Seattle Police Department.
The Seattle Police Department is experiencing a “mass exodus” of officers due to a lack of support from the city, an aggressive Office of Professional Accountability, and toxic city politics, multiple law enforcement sources confirm to the Jason Rantz Show.
These losses aren’t solely due to attrition. These are young and mid-career officers who are unhappy with the city, reported Jason Rantz for mynorthwest.com.
“There are lots of people walking out the door,” an officer explained. “This is a mass exodus. We’re losing people left and right. Why stick around when the City Council doesn’t appreciate you? [These officers are] fleeing the ‘Seattle mentality.’”
Rantz said the officers he spoke to are apprehensive. And it stems, in part, from their experiences with the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA).
The frustrations have been building for years. Many officers have complained they’re investigated for every minor complaint, including perceived rudeness.
The OPA has been prickly for many officers who feel it is exceeding its mission. Civilian-lead, the purpose of the OPA is to ensure officer compliance with federal, state, and local laws. But officers that Rantz spoke to feel the office drifted dramatically off course.