Sitting on a powder keg: Report shows police resignations are way up – and so are murder rates in major cities

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In another crisis that has been largely ignored, there are two numbers, trending in the same direction, which spell big trouble for our country. Those numbers are resignations of police officers and murders.

American Military News reports that voluntary resignations of police officers leapt by 24 percent across 10 police departments in major cities across the U.S. over the past year, citing a new study obtained by Fox News last week.

Year over year, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund (LELDF) study showed voluntary police departures increased by 18 percent between June 1, 2020, and April 30,2021. Moreover, voluntary resignations increased by 24 percent and overall voluntary retirements increased by 14 percent.

Let us take Chicago as an example. The number of Chicago PD officers decreased by 1,000 compared to two years ago, according to Global Perspectives. That number includes retirements and resignation, while also reflecting lower recruitment numbers for the Chicago Police Department.

Meanwhile in that same city, last year Chicago had 769 homicides, 274 more than the previous year and the most since 2016 when 784 people were killed. This year, as of September 1, Chicago had 524 murders, up 3% over the same time period from last year, putting the city on pace to have the highest murder rate in over 25 years, WBEZ reported.

The increase in murders while there are less police patrolling the streets is a recipe for disaster. What is driving the mass exodus from police departments? The answer is easy…George Floyd.

All of this started after Floyd’s death, when instead of drawing attention to the one police officer who allegedly used excessive force, politicians—primarily Democrats—used his death as a cudgel to attack all police officers nationwide.

Movements began nationwide to defund the police, remove protections enjoyed by police officers from frivolous lawsuits through qualified immunity, rewrite use of force policies to tie the hands of police and basically demonize police while elevating criminals.

“In the wake of the anti-police movement and Floyd protests, cops—unwanted and unappreciated by their political leaders—officers are running for the exits. Resignations and retirements at the largest police agencies in the United States are skyrocketing while recruitment is tanking,” said LLEDF President Jason Johnson.  

In Los Angeles, Chief Bill Bratton addressed policies implemented designed to handcuff police officers.

“I wouldn’t take [a job as a police chief]. The ability to succeed in this climate…the progressive district attorneys’ policies just aren’t going to work,” he said, speaking of far-left progressive district attorney George Gascon.

Meanwhile in Washington, D.C., Metro Police Chief Robert Contee addressed the lack of resources.

“This is something that we’ve been warning about for years. We don’t really have the ability to hire officers right now. We have a defined amount of resources to deal with a very large city that continues to grow,” he said.

In Austin, Texas, a liberal city in a conservative state, they are also seeing similar issues.

“When [police] get there, they then likely have to wait for backup. They don’t have the resources they need to actually address whatever the situation is,” said Kevin Lawrence, director of the Texas Municipal Association.

Interim Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon calls the current situation “a crisis because it is a crisis.” For example, the city saw a 63 percent increase in resignations while also seeing a near doubling in murders, up 96%. There are currently 300 sworn officer vacancies in Texas’ capital city.

Those are not the only problems facing police departments. Biden and his Department of Justice, when they are not harassing parents, wants to have court-appointed monitors oversee police departments.

Last month, the DOJ announced new efforts involving those monitors, which adds to other tools the DOJ has such as pattern or practice investigations. Those investigations can result in police departments put under the authority of the federal government oversight under what is called a consent decree.

Johnson said police departments studied included Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Austin, Las Vegas, Chicago, San Jose, Los Angeles County, Washington, DC., San Francisco and Miami-Dade. Researchers chose those cities due to their size, proximity to anti-police events and an increasing number of homicides.

In case you missed it, we recently reported on the difficulty police academies are having attracting new recruits. For more on that, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

After what some would consider to be one of the most demoralizing years for the profession of policing, departments across the country are encountering difficulties attracting new recruits to the profession of law enforcement.

According to a report from the National Review, it’s tough times in the realm of attracting new police recruits – a phenomenon that bears a strong connection to how the profession came under intense scrutiny during the summer of 2020 and beyond.  

Scott Berger, the coordinator of the police training program at Alexandria Technical & Community College in Minnesota, noted that following a luncheon event this past May where new graduates of the two-year program were thanked, first-year students were urged to finish their degree despite their hesitation:

“All they were hearing and what we were hearing from them was bad news. It’s like, ‘I don’t even know if I really want to do this.’ And we started noticing that our enrollment numbers were going down.”

Berger acknowledged that attracting recruits has always faced challenges, but the past 18 months have been more difficult than before – citing complications with classroom closures during the onset of the pandemic and then the protests and riots that followed, which bore anti-police themes throughout the country.

Not to mention, Minneapolis is of course the proverbial ground zero for where the 2020 riots kicked off.

Berger pointed to the nonstop flood of negative media attention that came after the murder of George Floyd:

“What I heard from people that were contemplating getting into law enforcement…was that we don’t feel like there’s support for law enforcement right now… everything in the news was bad news: All cops are bad, they’re not trained, they don’t know how to handle stressful situations or high-risk situations, which is just not true across the board.”

In 2017, Berger said there were 401 students that attended the policing programs at the school.

Come fiscal year 2020, the number dropped to 349. By fiscal year 2021, the number fell again to 302. This past fall semester, Berger said that only 117 freshman students started the policing program – when they typically see anywhere from 140 to 180 enrolling.

Jerry Granderson, director of the Oregon Public Safety Academy, is also seeing a similar decline in students pursuing careers in law enforcement. Data from the school from 2016 to 2019 showed an average of just under 500 students per year enrolling in their basic police and career officer-development courses.

Come 2020, the Oregon Public Safety Academy had only 290 students pursuing those programs. As of data from this past August, the academy has seen on 177 students enroll in said programs.

Granderson noted that there are an amalgamation of factors driving this but noted that pay is one driving issue as well as students not wanting to “come into this profession given the current social context.”

That “social context” is of course the constant allegations that policing is rooted in things like racism, or that police officers in general are racist toward black Americans – among other maligning allegations lodged against the profession.

Also, one must take into consideration that Granderson’s school is located in Oregon – the home of Portland – which took cues from the city of Minneapolis and expanded riots to a near-nightly cadence lasting roughly a year.

Granderson said that with the current perception of law enforcement being what it is, law enforcement leaders need to do a better job of selling the profession to potential recruits:

“The bottom line here is, that message needs to be sent out that, listen, American people, we’ve heard, we’ve seen, we’ve adjusted. Please come into this sacred profession.”

Berger agrees with Granderson’s take that there needs to be a better marketing campaign for law enforcement careers – saying one of the downfalls is that the career path has never really needed to be aggressively sold in the past:

“Because we really, for a long time, never had to. I mean, there were tons of candidates, and they were coming in, and new programs were getting started across the state. Everything was just wonderful and warm and fuzzy. And then, all of a sudden, the numbers start to go down and agencies are saying, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t have enough candidates.’”

Berger added that in the past, former graduates functioned as the best funnels for new recruits – consisting of parents and friends urging loved ones to get into a career in law enforcement. However, Berger said that past graduates are telling their loved ones to hold off – given the climate of policing and the manner in which legislators are looking to reshape the profession:

“They’re in favor of the profession, but they’re also realists. So they look at it and say, ‘You know what, great job, great profession. You might want to just hold off for now.’”

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LET Unity

Seattle city council rejects proposed plan to recruit and retain police officers as violence explodes

(Originally published September 16th, 2021)

SEATTLE, WA- On Monday, September 13th, the Seattle City Council voted no on a proposed plan to devote more money to retain officers on the payroll while hiring new ones. 

This controversial decision comes as the city continues to struggle with crime and redefining the role of armed police officers. The council reportedly rejected two plan proposing at least $1 million to officers, one by a close vote. 

In the last 18 months, between resignations and new hires, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) lost 200 officers. 

On Monday, September 13th, councilmember Alex Pederson proposed using $1 million to $3 million of the $15 million in salary savings on bonuses to recruit and retain officers to fight rising crime. He said in a statement:

“To demonstrate and recognize this staffing crisis caused by the tidal wave of attrition and that we want our remaining officers and detectives to stay in Seattle.”

Protests to defund the police department put pressure on the council to shrink the size of the police force and put money into social service solutions. During public comment, citizen Katherine Dawson said:

“The majority of this council pledged to defund SPD, a promise that still remains unfulfilled.”

In a statement before the city council meeting, Mayor Jenny Durkan urged support for the hiring and retention plan. She said:

“It’s a false choice to invest in alternatives or hire and retain officers to meet our current 911 response. We have shown we can invest tens of millions in new alternatives.”

Councilmember Andrew Lewis stated his concerns about the proposal, saying:

“When I disagree with this, it’s the reprioritization of the money component of this amendment. The money earmarked for critical crime prevention programs in the human services department.”

Minutes later, Lewis voted yes for a separate, less expensive plan to recruit and retain officers. A majority of council members rejected that plan by a 5-4 vote in the belief that the money should be devoted to alternatives to policing.

Some activists said the council’s actions fall short of what the city needs now. SPD African American Community Advisory Chair Victoria Beach said in a statement:

“We won’t have a department. You think things are bad now? Just wait.”

When Beach said she heard gunshots in her neighborhood over the weekend, she did not bother calling police. She added:

“I just thought, ‘mmmm, I’m not going to call because it’s going on everywhere and I don’t want to get upset when they don’t show up.’”

With more than 250 officers who have already left SPD, Beach said she was hoping the council would do more to keep and hire officers now. According to reports, with so many officers gone, the city has banked $15 million in salary savings so far this year. 

The majority of the council said they did not want to use the $3 million in savings as incentives for officers to not leave. Instead, the council will use the money on internal SPD programs, community safety investments, and the new ‘Triage One’ pilot starting in 2022, where other responders are sent to distress calls instead of police. Beach said:

“Yes, still hold them accountable, but we need officers to hold accountable. We don’t have any. it’s a free-for-all here in Seattle. You can commit a crime and get away with it. We need police officers.”

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Gov. DeSantis announces signing bonuses, scholarship program to recruit more cops in Florida

(Originally published August 19th, 2021)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – During a conference that was hosted by the National Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly announced a series of new policy proposals which would be presented at the upcoming legislative session that would help recruit new law enforcement officers and help support state and local law enforcement agencies.

On August 17th at the FOP’s 2021 Biennial National Conference & Expo, Governor DeSantis detailed three upcoming proposals to help attract and retain new law enforcement officers within the state of Florida.

Those proposals included new officer sign-on bonuses, relocation support for out-of-state officers coming to Florida, and an academy scholarship program.

While speaking at the conference, Governor DeSantis stated the following about the effort:

“As so many cities and states choose to disrespect, degrade and defund the honorable work of law enforcement, we want Florida to continue valuing our men and women of law enforcement today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”

“That’s why today, I am proud to announce new initiatives to recruit and reward brave, high quality law enforcement officers in Florida that I will be including in my legislative priorities for our upcoming legislative session, including $5,000 signing bonuses.”

The signing bonus of $5,000 would be afforded to newly hired law enforcement officers who’ve never previously served as a sworn law enforcement officer, corrections officer, or other institutional security officer within the state of Florida.

Additionally, the signing bonus will need to be repaid to the state if the officer leaves their role before completing at least one year of service.

The academy scholarship program will reportedly function on a first come, first serve basis, with the Department of Education created program offering additional resources to law enforcement academy enrollees.

Said program would benefit two types of academy trainees.

The first being students who are unable to attain other state financial assistance through a state college or technical center law enforcement program, with the scholarship covering tuition and fees for the program at a state college or technical center.

The second beneficiary type would be students who are attending a private academy, with the scholarship covering costs up to what’s deemed as the average tuition and fees associated public law enforcement training programs.

As for the relocation support for out-of-state officers coming to Florida, this effort would afford incoming officers moving to Florida the opportunity to take the State Officer Certification Exam free of charge.

Furthermore, the state will also cover up to $1,000 in costs associated with any required Equivalency Training Programs.

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