Police are leaving their career, or area, more than they ever have, and that’s not new news. It’s been evident how police departments have sent out recruitment ads and even sign-on bonuses for some departments. New York City may have been hit the most, and what their officers have to say is shocking.
Turning in your badge and gun is never easy. Being a police officer is like no other job out there. The ratings that police tv shows get tell you that there’s nothing like getting a frontline seat to the action. Aside from what most media outlets will say to you, police officers are good people for the most part. They’re ordinary people who want to do good in their community and help people with whatever they need. Though there are some bad officers, you can’t let them stain the badge for the rest of the officers.
According to the New York Post, an internal survey of New York City Police officers, 56% of them said that if they could do it all over again, they wouldn’t have put on the badge. That’s a startling number for the department because they’ve already had 5,300 officers leave in 2020 and even more since then. What would the police department do if the officers who were surveyed left? These are the questions that the chief and administration need to ask themselves moving forward. Yes, it’s the officer’s job to make sure their community is satisfied, but you have to make sure the officers are taken care of as well.
There’s a dichotomy in law enforcement. The officers serve the community, and the administration does the officers. It’s a perspective that most departments have lost, but it’s essential to the bottom line officer. The administration tends to lose sight and only serve the community, but they fail. It’s impossible to serve the community from behind a desk, and the community sees it. What needs to happen is the departments need to serve their frontline officers, and the guidance will be much easier to achieve because the officers will be happy. We see the top levels of the police departments catering to a small amount of the community and theoretically going against their officers. When the frontline officers don’t feel their department supports them, they find it more challenging to serve their community.
It extends past the department, though. A veteran police officer said, “The city is not safe at all, bail reform. Criminals are being released. Everyone knows what’s going on.”
It’s not a secret. When you allow criminal behavior to continue, then it succeeds. And the next criminal feels encouraged by the community, police department, and ultimately the justice system.
According to the survey, 46% feel the public disrespects them, and 44% feel the public distrusts them compared to 42% and 41% who think the opposite.
Respect goes a long way. You have to consider getting it, and police officers feel that just as much as anyone else. Most times, not all the time, officers can only give as much respect as is given back. It’s challenging to show respect when you have to force someone into handcuffs or when things get physical, but all parties involved have a responsibility to each other to try their best to make sure that doesn’t happen. That doesn’t mean it will go smoothly, but all you can do is try, and officers do their best to keep situations from getting out of control.
The problem is political as well. A 16-year veteran said, “There is no other profession that is scrutinized as much as we are,” which is a true statement. It’s expected that officers will act perfectly as imperfect human beings. Every situation is fluid. “The far-left-leaning politics are destroying the city of New York.”
Hopefully, Eric Adams, the new mayor, can turn things around. Adams, a former police officer, knows what it’s like to be on the frontline and has already said he will bring the police department back in full swing.