The New York Police Department has recorded the highest number of retirements and resignations since the post-9/11 exodus in 2002, the New York Post reported on January 7.
In 2022, 3,701 officers left the department, which is just shy of the 9/11-era record high of 3,846 officers.
According to the department’s pension fund data, exits are up 32% from 2021, when 2,811 officers left the job.
Furthermore, the exodus occurred as the NYPD added 1,982 to its ranks in 2022, leaving the department down some 1,700 cops.
Officers cited several reasons for leaving the force, including bail reform, the city’s vaccination mandate, the defund-the-police movement, feeling disrespected by the public, and jobs with better pay and lower stress.
“The city is bleeding blue and I think the blue line will get thinner,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “At this rate, continued public safety weighs in the balance. I’d be more concerned at the resignations than the retirements. Cops are leaving for better pay, benefits and working conditions.”
As APB reported previously, many officers are leaving the NYPD for greener pastures.
Among those is Alexandre Tilan, 29, who left the NYPD in April after working for the department for six years. He found his new home with the St. Petersburg Police Department in Florida.
“Since I’ve been here, there’s been more respect,” Tilan said. “When I come to work, people say, ‘You’re always smiling.’”
Despite taking a pay cut, Tilan said he saves more than he did living in New York, and there’s also more room for growth.
“I was at top pay with the NYPD, which I think sits around $89,000. Right now … in Florida, I’m making $72,000,” Tilan explained. “However, the weekly [take home is] higher because of the lack of state and city tax. When I reach top pay here, it will be over $100,000.”
Tilan, who previously worked with the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, said the facilities are better in Florida and that “the precinct is nicer, you don’t have ceiling tiles falling down on you. … It feels like you are more supported and you are given the tools to succeed.”
Tilan also noted that there was significant frustration at the NYPD related to bail reform laws, with many complaining that suspects who were just arrested were let go “before the paperwork was dry.”
Other NYPD officers who chose to leave opted to test for other civil service jobs or obtained jobs at police departments in Long Island or out of state. Some also joined the Port Authority Police Department, which boasts higher wages.
Spero Georgedakis, 52, a former Miami SWAT team officer, works with the Florida PBA to help cops relocate to the Sunshine State.
“It’s heartbreaking what’s happening [to the job in NYC],” said Georgedakis, who grew up in Queens. “I still have friends and family in New York. They [the cops] are literally handcuffed and disrespected. It’s almost like cutting off your own nose to spite your face. You need the police. You need law and order.”
NYC PBA president Patrick Lynch called on the mayor to address the exodus.
“Mayor Adams has said he wants to improve police officer morale and boost the NYPD’s headcount. The time to do that is now. The mass exodus is already significantly impacting NYPD operations. If it continues any longer, it will totally erase the public safety gains we’ve made over the past year,” Lynch said in a statement.