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The Epoch Times

The largest police departments in the United States have seen a steady decline in officers over the past year and a half amid the CCP virus pandemic and a rash of anti-police activism.

The top three police departments in the country have lost thousands of officers since 2019, driven by an increase in retirements and resignations on top of recruiting woes. Reports of officers leaving in droves have been coming from other major jurisdictions as well.

Meanwhile, those cities have seen a significant uptick in murders and shootings.

New York City

The largest police agency in the country, the New York Police Department (NYPD) is down about 1,500 officers as retirements jumped to 2,600 last year from 1,509 in 2019, the department’s spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email. Another nearly 350 officers had exited by mid-May this year.

Many of the retirements had to do with anti-police sentiment fanned by activist groups during protests and riots that followed the death of convicted felon George Floyd, a black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis last year. The officer had knelt on his neck and back for more than eight minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe before becoming unresponsive.

Last year, the state of New York outlawed officers from using a knee on a suspect’s back or chest as a restraint technique during an arrest. Police officers and experts have criticized the law for criminalizing martial arts techniques routinely used by police to safely subdue resisting subjects.

New York City also implemented new laws regarding bail that banned judges from requiring cash bail for most nonviolent and some lower-level violent crimes, resulting in criminals returning to the street quickly after an arrest. Officers called the policy demoralizing as it makes their work seem pointless.

The NYPD mounted a large recruitment drive this year, even waiving the usual $40 application fee, although still falling short of the applicant numbers of a previous drive, according to NYPD Personnel Chief Martin Morales. Part of the reason is that the drive was shorter than usual this time.


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