Stop It: The United States is Faced with the Problem of a Shortage of Police

12:35 pm  |  06.08.2021

Since last year, there has been a record increase in resignations. The number of new staff members is clearly insufficient. One of the key reasons for this trend is the strong social backlash. It happened in the year of the presidential election following the death of George Floyd. Questions arise as to the capacity of the authorities to effectively enforce the rule of law.


The extremely negative attitude towards the police that has developed in American society against the backdrop of violent protests by security forces has led to a sharp deterioration in law enforcement staffing in the United States.

The New York Post reported that more than 5,000 police officers had resigned. Some of them have resigned.

The increase in the number of departures from service is enormous. Compared to 2019 when just over 3,000 people resigned or filed. It was 75%. The total strength of the New York City Police was reduced to 34,974. You can compare this fact with 36,900 in 2019, according to the newspaper.

Total Exodus

A similar disappointing situation exists in many other American cities. In Philadelphia 79 police officers have joined the deferred retirement program. That means that they have planned to retire over the next four years. In the same period 2019, only 13 officers had such plans.

According to the Philadelphia Police Department budget, the total strength of the police force is 6,380. That figure now stands at 6,112, and there is no hope that law enforcement agencies will be more fully staffed.

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In Chicago, 560 police officers retired in 2020. The increase in the number of pensioners taking off police uniforms was 15% compared to the previous year. In Minneapolis, 40 staff members retired during the year, and another 120 took extended leave; altogether, some 20 percent of the total of the 840 police forces in the city do not.

Under the Pressure of Public Dislike

Many media interepted the Floyd case as another episode of unjustified police brutality against African Americans.

This episode received special attention due to the fact that the election campaign was in full swing in the United States a year ago. The death of another African American became a significant topic that was discussed by both politicians and ordinary Americans. Mass protests against police arbitrariness have taken a no less place in the minds of US residents. They went on for at least several weeks in dozens of American cities.

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The problem of prejudiced attitudes of cops towards blacks and generally racist manifestations in the United States. In terms of the staffing of the police units, the heightened hostility towards “people in uniform”, Floyd’s death had an immediate effect. In New York, 272 police officers wrote their resignations in the month since the tragedy.


Other factors also play a role. A reduction in the size of local budgets, which are allocated to the work of law enforcement agencies. Also, an important measure to remove legal immunity from police officers, which protected them from lawsuits from disgruntled law enforcement officers.

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Congress Without Protection

The January storming of the US Congress in Washington and the incident that took place there in early April. All of this affects the willingness of Capitol police officers to continue serving. Despite the fact that with the declared number of subdivisions of 2 thousand people, the structure now lacks more than 230 employees.

The past year has been a tough one for the Capitol police. During the storming of Congress by rabid supporters of President Donald Trump, something terrible happened. They killed one police officer. Rebels injured the dozens. Another Capitol police officer committed suicide a few weeks after the attack. The victim of an Indiana resident who tried to break through the security line by car killed William Evans, a real veteran of the unit who served there for 18 years, on April 2.

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Chicago Police Society President John Catanzara says he does not understand how the new recruitment of law enforcement officers can compensate for staff losses.

Even if we imagine that the departure of experienced police officers from the service will give a positive result. For example, when it comes to incompetent or corrupt employees. There are numerous studies. They show that the number of crimes committed is inversely proportional to the number of law enforcement officers working in the city.

Lehman also sees a direct correlation between the increasing workload on those police officers and the propensity to use force.

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