NYPD sees increase of 75% of officers retiring or quitting in 2020. That was 5,300 uniformed cops.

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – The year of 2020 served as a difficult one for many. The sharp uptick in retirements and voluntary separations from the NYPD showcase that the year wasn’t kind in the least to police officers.

A report from The Daily Wire noted that in 2020, the NYPD saw a 75% increase of officers quitting the force or retiring when compared to 2019.

About 5,300 uniformed officers retired or left the NYPD in 2020, a staggering 75% spike over the previous year and accounting for 15% of the total number of officers on the force.

The death of George Floyd and the ensuing chaos seemed to be the catalyst for the officers’ resignations, as from May 25th through June 24th, 2020, a total of 272 officers separated from the NYPD in one month.

From what the New York Post noted about the increase in separations from the NYPD in 2020, reportedly 2,600 officers quit and 2,746 filed for retirement.

When examining the numbers, the 5,346 officers who separated from the NYPD were almost 2,300 more than those who left the department back in 2019, when 1,509 officers quit and 1,544 filed for retirement.

So far in 2021, there have already been approximately 830 officers that have separated from the NYPD.

Retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Joseph Giacalone warns that the current climate regarding policing, especially in New York City, will likely see this practice continue:

“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them. NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”

After the New York City Council voted in favor of effectively ending qualified immunity for officers back in March, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik offered the following remarks regarding the endeavor launched by the city council:

“No police officer should work in a jurisdiction where they do not have the support of those they work for. Beginning today, I will no longer recommend young people consider the NYPD as a career.”

Other forms of reform drafted by the city council relating to the operations of the NYPD effectively stripped NYPD Commissioner Shea of being the final say on police disciplinary matters.

Councilman Stephen Levin of Brooklyn justified the notion, saying:

“The police commissioner overrules the CCRB (Civilian Complaint Review Board) and/or the trial judge 71 percent of the time. That is absolutely evidence of a dysfunctional system.”

Commissioner Shea rebuked that aspect, alleging that the city council has essentially handcuffed the NYPD from properly addressing disciplinary matters:

“Ask any police chief that doesn’t have the final say on discipline and you will find a chief who has had officers returned to duty that shouldn’t have been and in many of those cases more acts of misconduct by an officer the chief wanted to fire.

“No other city agency uses that system nor does the FBI, the Secret Service, or the Marines. There is a reason for that. You need to know where the buck stops.”

Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch claims that city officials are simply trying to gut the NYPD by way of creating a workplace so uncomfortable for officers that they self-defund via “attrition”:

“Now the NYPD is spending money on slick recruiting ads to replace the experienced cops who are leaving in droves. City Hall should just admit the truth: police abolition-through-attrition is their goal. They won’t stop until the job has become completely unbearable, and they’re getting closer to that goal with every passing day.”

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Earlier in April, Law Enforcement Today reported on a concerning resurgence of what some have called the “knockout game” over the past few years. 

Here’s that previous report. 

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NEW YORK, NY – New Yorkers are reeling from a rash of recent, apparently random, attacks on citizens, leading some to wonder if the “knockout game” is returning.

A 47-year-old man suffered a broken jaw in January after being sucker-punched in the face in the Bronx.  Police described the attack as a “possible knockout game.”

Also in January, Catholic Deacon Frederick Kurr, 74, was sucker-punched as he attempted to swipe his subway card inside a Bronx subway station.

Video footage shows a suspect, who had been standing at an adjacent turnstile, punching Kurr in the face.

The suspect reportedly told Kurr not to call for help, and he also told his victim:

“I just felt like punching someone.” 

Jose Gonzalez was later apprehended for the assault.  Gonzalez is a 48-year-old homeless man with a history of six previous arrests for “punching random victims.”

Another “unprovoked attack” occurred on a Queens subway platform in March, when a 67-year-old man was punched in the face.  The victim was treated on scene by EMS, and the suspect fled.

Also in March, a 65-year-old woman in Manhattan was knocked to the ground and “viciously” kicked and stomped in the head by an attacker.

In addition, on Easter Day in April, victim Judith Thomas, 75, suffered a “random assault” when an attacker punched her in the face as she was walking down a Harlem sidewalk.

Thomas told the Daily Mail:

“This was crazy, this attack. It made no sense. He didn’t say anything to me, he didn’t go for my purse, nothing. 

“It was just acting out in sheer anger and hostility.”

In another interview, Thomas discussed her theory on the direction crime seems to be taking in the Big Apple, telling CBS New York:

“In the ’70s and the ’80s, when we had a spike in crime, I was a crime reporter back in those days.” 

She added:

“It seems like we’re going back to the bad old days.”

According to the New York Post, fearful Upper West Side residents have taken to social media to share concerns and stories.

One Facebook poster reportedly described an incident from two weeks ago, when a girl and her boyfriend encountered a man exiting the subway station at Central Park West and 87th.  The man “tried to sucker punch” the girl, and her boyfriend chased the suspect away.

Another Facebook commenter wrote that he suffered two black eyes after an incident, saying:

“This is happening all over. I was sucker punched by a disturbed man in Chelsea.”

Retired NYPD Sergeant Joseph Giacalone, who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, advised the New York Post that there are “a number of attacks that some would term as ‘sucker punches’ against seniors and children in NYC.”

He added:

“It might be the power of social media that makes the perception that it’s happening everywhere, but it is a real concern that shouldn’t be taken lightly.”

Some have characterized these apparently random assaults as a possible return of the “knockout game” of days past, in which attackers would slug randomly chosen victims in an attempt to knock them out.

The NYPD has been unable to confirm the re-emergence of the “knockout game,” as “data is not kept to that level of specificity.”

Others believe that current anti-police sentiment in police-defunded New York City has played into the rise of these attacks.

NYPD Sergeant Joseph Imperatrice, a 15-year veteran of the force, and the founder of Blue Lives Matter NYC, told the New York Post:

“These incidents aren’t happening in front of officers. 

“They are happening due to opportunists taking advantage of the anti-police, anti-accountability era.”

He went on to say:

“It is a dangerous time to be out and about strolling in New York City. 

“The combination of criminals and mentally ill individuals roaming the streets equals disaster waiting to happen.”

Imperatrice continued:

“The city needs to get back to old-school policing … high visibility foot posts and patrol.”

Upper West Side resident Jacqueline Bolier appears to agree that  “old school policing” is necessary.

She told the Daily Mail:

“I carry pepper spray because we are now a lawless city and need to police ourselves.”

She added:

“The attackers are generally mentally disturbed people with nothing to lose. 

“There are no mental hospitals and no foot patrols taking place by police.”

Like Bolier, other local residents are exploring self-defense options in light of the recent spate of attacks.

The New York Post reports that many are looking into self-defense classes to protect themselves.

Tsahi Shemesh, former Israeli Defense Forces paratrooper and current Krav Maga instructor, advised the Post:

“There’s a lot more crazy out there. A lot of people unhinged. 

“What we can do is to be more aware. To be more alert.”

He added:

“People are feeling unsafe.”

Shemesh continued:

“[A] lot of people are avoiding public transportation. Avoiding the subways. 

“It’s pretty clear that the city has changed its face.”

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