Amidst a national reckoning with the criminal justice system, police officers from precincts across the country appear to be leaving the force in droves.
The Seattle Police Department announced more than 200 officers have left the force since last year, according to the Associated Press (AP).
Police Chief Adrian Diaz said the department was facing a “staffing crisis,” noting 180 officers left in 2020 while 66 officers have left in 2021 thus far, according to the AP.
“We are at record lows in the city right now. I have about 1,080 deployable officers. This is the lowest I’ve seen our department,” Diaz told KING-TV.
Officers leaving the force either retired early, left for different precincts or just left for a private sector job, the AP reported.
Mayor Jenny Durkan said “threats of continued layoffs or cuts” from the City Council in regards to the police budget was “having a direct impact on decisions to leave the department,” according to the AP. The city council is reportedly eyeing a $5.4 million cut to the police budget.
But Seattle isn’t the only area where officers are leaving in droves.
Data shows a 61% spike in the amount of officers who left the Aurora Police Department in Colorado between 2019 and 2020, according to The Denver Channel. A survey among those departing found the top reasons for leaving in 2020 were retirement, working conditions and leadership, according to the report.
As of the end of February, 13 officers have retired, nine have resigned and two have been fired in 2021, according to the report.
One unidentified female officer who recently quit said “there is not support for us,” according to The Denver Channel.
Meanwhile, 79 officers in Philadelphia since the beginning of this year have been accepted into the Deferred Retirement Option program, which means they intend to retire in the next four years , according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. Only 13 officers enrolled in the program during the same time period last year.
Baltimore Police have lost 81 officers this year alone, “outpacing” last years numbers.
“Pay, working conditions, and the anti-policing climate are the primary reasons. BPD leadership must begin to treat our officers as the professionals they are!” Baltimore City FOP tweeted.
81 officers have fled @BaltimorePolice this year, outpacing last year. Pay, working conditions, and the anti-policing climate are the primary reasons. BPD leadership must begin to treat our officers as the professionals they are! #500copsshort #cityincrisis @GLFOP @MayorBMScott
— Baltimore City FOP (@FOP3) April 20, 2021
The Asheville Police Department in North Carolina also saw an exodus of officers in 2020, according to the Citizens-Times.
Beginning June 1 and according to data obtained on Sept. 10, 31 officers quit the force, according to the report.
“It’s not unusual to see 15-20 in a year,” Chief David Zack told the outlet. “But when you see the number that we just had in the last two months, that is unprecedented.” (RELATED: ‘I’m Out Of Here’: Chicago Cops Are Leaving The Force At Twice The Normal Rate)
The tipping point appears to have originated from protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd, who died in police custody after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly 10 minutes as Floyd struggled to breathe and begged for help.
At least seven officers resigned from the Minneapolis Police Department in approximately just three weeks since the onset of the Floyd protests, according to CNN.
Eight officers resigned in Atlanta in June alone following the death of Rayshard Brooks, according to the report.
Meanwhile CNN reported that 10 officers in South Florida resigned from their city’s SWAT team over concerns about safety during the same time frame.