The New York Police Department (NYPD) has reportedly limited the number of retirement applications it will allow, after it saw a surge in requests in the last couple of months.
The NYPD announced on Wednesday that 179 officers filed for retirement between 29 June and 6 July – a 411 per cent increase on the 35 who retired in the same time period in 2019.
Additionally, 503 NYPD officers filed for retirement between 25 May - the day George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis - and 3 July, representing a 75 per cent increase on the 287 officers who retired in the same period last year.
Floyd died after his neck was knelt on by Derek Chauvin, who at the time was a Minneapolis police officer, and has now been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.
Protests have taken place in every state across the US since his death, and many demonstrators and some politicians have called for reform across police departments nationwide.
A spokesperson for the NYPD confirmed to the New York Post that there has been a “surge in the number of officers filing for retirement,” and added: “While the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a troubling trend that we are closely monitoring.”
One officer told the Post that they have had so many applications that the pension office has had to limit the number of appointments to around 40 a day.
“Apparently, the pension section is only taking a certain amount of people per day and I think they are backed up till late July, early August,” one officer said. “That’s why you don’t see like 100 a day, because they are only doing like 35 to 40 a day, by appointment.”
The department is not turning down applications from people retiring in the next 30 days, but has told other officers to wait another month before applying, due to the increased demand.
Multiple officers across the country were filmed using excessive force during the nationwide protests and some NYPD sources said that the increase in retirement applications is due to criticism against the police over the last few months.
“There’s just droves and droves of people retiring. But there’s no surprise here, who the hell wants to stay on this job?” one officer told the Post.
“Why would you want to stay on this job when people don’t appreciate what you do?”
Other sources suggested that the overtime NYPD officers accumulated during the protests increased the amount of money they can get from their pensions.
“This is the best time to leave,” one officer said. “You’ve padded the numbers as high as you can pad them.”
However, Lieutenants Benevolent Association president Lou Turco said that some of the applications are probably because of overtime, but that a majority are leaving because they do not feel appreciated.
“Overtime plays a part, it happened in 2008 and 2009 and after 9/11, but this is not about overtime now,” he claimed.
“They feel abandoned by the silent majority and they are leaving. They don’t feel appreciated.”
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