Legions of NYPD officers are getting ready to retire — prompted by long and grueling overtime hours in what the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) describes as “forced” and “inhumane.”
According to the police union representing tens of thousands of active and retired officers, several retirement seminars held in Queens over the past few weeks — the most recent of which took place on Nov. 8 – saw more than 800 cops line the streets at each event, looking for information on their prospective retirement packages. This comes after 3,791 officers quit in 2022, a record-breaking number the PBA charged.
PBA President Patrick Hendry attributes the mass exodus to a current NYPD staffing crisis that forces members of the department to work double and even triple shifts.
“The NYPD’s staffing crisis is a vicious cycle. As more cops leave, the burden gets heavier for those who remain. Our members are working inhumane amounts of forced overtime,” Hendry said.
Hendry added that hard-working cops are not getting support from the Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that looks into and investigates police activity.
“They’re under constant pressure from an oversight regime that penalizes them for the type of proactive policing that New Yorkers and NYPD leadership are demanding,” he said. “More and more cops are deciding it’s just not worth it, especially when they can have better pay, better benefits and a better quality of life in another career or another policing job.”
Last year, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey told amNewYork Metro that the record number of retirements stemmed from a recruitment boom after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, resulting in cops having performed their tour of duty. However, Hendry argues that there is no motivation for cops to stay on.
The PBA says that it is seeking new legislation that would provide pension incentives to keep those weighing their options on the job longer by enticing experienced cops to remain on the job past their minimum eligibility for retirement, and by preventing mid-career cops from jumping to another department with a perceived better pension plan.
According to Police Pension Fund filings, 1,746 of the 3,701 who left the job in 2022 did so before being eligible for retirement. The same filings also indicate that for the last decade the number of cops leaving the force consistently hovered around the 2,000 mark — until 2020, when the number spiked to 3,315.
So far in 2023, 2,516 cops have left the job.
The NYPD has yet to respond to requests for comment.