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Report: Blue City Struggles With Police Officer Recruitment After Droves Of Retirements

New York City is struggling to recruit more police officers after a mass amount of experienced officials retired, according to a report from the New York Post.
by Mary Lou Masters, DCNF, TFP File Photo

New York City is struggling to recruit more police officers after a mass amount of experienced officials retired, according to a report from the New York Post.

The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) March officer exam far underscored the amount of applicants the department expected, with 1,300 signing up to take the test compared to the 3,000 expected, sources told the NYP.

This year’s second exam, which took place on Thursday, didn’t meet expectations, once again, despite incentives given by the NYPD.

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“The NYPD’s best recruiting tool has always been word of mouth,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Hendry told the NYP. “But right now, the word is, ‘Stay away.’”

The NYPD extended the registration deadline for the most recent exam by a month, offered contracts with increased pay and waived the $40 application fee, according to the NYP.

The NYPD didn’t hold any exams in 2015 and 2016 due to “too many applicants” but has ramped up testing over the past few years to one to three times annually, according to the NYP. In 2017, 18,463 individuals took two exams, 14,127 took one exam in 2019, and 6,489 took three exams in 2022 — a 65% plummet from 2017, the sources said.

“We thought it would be better after the contract, but it’s not,” one law enforcement source told the NYP.

A contributing factor to the NYPD‘s recruitment struggles is that many officers don’t want to recommend their job to family members, citing concerns over safety and lost livelihoods, Hendry told the NYP.

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“They don’t want them constantly hyper-scrutinized and second-guessed,” Hendry said. “If the NYPD wants to fix its recruitment problem, it needs to make this a job that cops can recommend.”

Many experienced police officers echoed Hendry’s sentiment, with one who’s been a member of the NYPD for roughly 30 years telling the NYP, “the job is never happy.”

“Patrol treats people like s—,” another officer of over 20 years told the NYP. “I told my son to do something else.”

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, told the NYP the police recruitment problem that plagues the entire country was exacerbated following the death of George Floyd in 2020.

“Traditionally, in policing, you would have the legacy factor, meaning cops’ kids and family members would go on to be police officers,” Wexler told the NYP. “Today, if you walk into a room in most places in the country, and you say to cops, how many of you would like to see your children or your brothers be cops? Very few raise their hands.”

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