Cops fled 6 major Democrat-led cities in droves in 2022. Here’s why

Scores resigned from police departments amid low morale

Droves of officers left at least six Democrat-led major cities’ police forces in 2022, with many moving to different departments, multiple outlets reported.

Scores of officers resigned from police departments amid low morale, a continuing violent crime wave and higher paying police jobs in other places, according to multiple reports. Texas Christian University Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and policing professor Johnny Nhan told the Daily Caller News Foundation that low morale has become a major problem in many police departments.

“Patrol officers these days feel like they’re not getting the support that they once got by the public,” said Nhan, who has become a reserve police officer himself. “It’s anything from apathy to hostility that they’re facing. They’re afraid of accusations of being racist or being brutal, they’re filmed all the time, so that does something to the officers. They’re feeling like, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of legal risk being a cop these days.’”

About 1,225 officers in their first five years of service resigned from America’s largest local police force, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), in the first 11 months of 2022, according to New York City Police Pension Fund data cited by The New York Times.

“Other communities are recognizing the talent and are poaching our members,” New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch told the outlet. “If we pay our police officers a market rate of pay, they will stay here.”

A spokesperson for the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Public Information’s office told the DCNF that the department has hired “approximately 2000 individuals” in 2022.

Robberies and aggravated assaults across 70 law enforcement agencies’ jurisdictions respectively rose by about 13 and 2.6% in the first half of the year compared to the same part of 2021, while homicides fell by roughly 2.5%, according to a Major Cities Chiefs Association report.

San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Police Union President Jered Wilson said the department lost more than 50 officers between July 1 and Sept. 29, according to Fox 5 San Diego. More than 60 officers who had resigned from the SDPD from July 2021 through June 2022 moved to different law enforcement agencies, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“They see the urban decay that is really occurring in San Diego, and they are fleeing with their families, they are fleeing with their careers,” Wilson said, according to Fox 5. San Diego County hit its highest mid-year violent crime rate in ten years by the end of June 2022, accompanied by a 4% spike in homicides and a 15% increase in robberies, SANDAG reported.

Nhan told the DCNF that officers in some large departments feel unsupported by their executive command staff, believing that “if something happens, somebody like a police chief would side with the media, would side with politicians, and kind of make an example of the officer instead of supporting them, having their back, defending them.”

At least 76 officers reportedly left the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police from January to Dec. 1 2022, according to WESA. Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt said some went to different jurisdictions, with remaining officers frequently working overtime due to understaffing.

“Pittsburgh is a bureau with a history of longevity when it comes to officer employment,” a Pittsburg Department of Public Safety representative told the DCNF. “Many of our officers have reached retirement age. That number also accounts for and includes terminations.”

The Seattle Police Department (SPD) fell to a 30-year-low of 954 trained and deployable officers by May, a report from Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s office said. More than 40 sworn-in police staff left within the first four months of 2022, data indicated, according to King 5.

“(Officers) have been demoralized and disrespected,” Harrell said in July, announcing hiring bonuses and other new police recruitment measures, the outlet reported.

The SPD had 1106 staff members including 803 police officers and 28 police recruits as of Oct. 31, according to statistics the department sent the DCNF.

Nahn said some departments’ officers face termination for taking police actions that are legal in their states but against department policy or procedure.

“People who are on the streets can’t wait to get off the streets, and people who are off the streets see that profession as crumbling,” he told the DCNF. “A lot of the old timers are like, ‘You know what? I’m gonna get out before it gets ugly.’ So they’re accepting retirement early or just leaving the profession.”

More than 220 police officers resigned from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from January to August, according to data obtained by CBS Chicago. Some officers worked 11 days in a row between April 1 and May 31, based on CPD records referenced by the city’s Office of Inspector General.

“Fact: cops are burnt out, they are not getting that needed time off, and they absolutely don’t have enough support from this mayor or superintendent. Period,” Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara declared in June, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The CPD told the DCNF that it currently has about 1,000 police officer vacancies, having hired 851 recruits so far in 2022 with another incoming class set before year’s end.

“The Chicago Police Department is continuing to ramp up its hiring efforts as law enforcement across the nation see an increase in retirements,” the department said.

The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) employed 1,645 officers by Dec. 12, Lt. Tracy McCray of the San Francisco Police Officers Association told Fox & Friends First’s Todd Piro. That total represented a decline from roughly 1,830 in 2021 and 1,911 in 2020, according to police statistics Fox News cited.

“The devastation that officers feel, they don’t want to go through that anymore,” McCray said, according to the outlet. “They don’t want to work at a big city. They want to go somewhere else. So they just want to get out of the profession altogether.”

The SDPD did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.