As officers quit, departments see chance for change

USA News

PHOENIX – Police departments across the country are hemorrhaging officers faster than recruiters can find qualified applicants.

Seattle has lost more than a quarter of its police force in the past 2.5 years. The Fairfax County police chief in Virginia declared a personnel emergency on July 28, instituting mandatory overtime. Three small towns — Kenly, North Carolina, Melbourne Village, Florida, and Springfield, Colorado — experienced mass resignations this summer: The entire department in each community called it quits.

Advocates pushing for defunding or abolishment of police may see fewer officers as an encouraging sign. But some city officials said it affects the communities the police serve.

In Seattle, the mayor in July declared the department could no longer promptly and effectively provide essential services.

“This reality is contributing to exhaustion and low morale among officers, as the police department’s staffing crisis harms public safety,” according to the mayor’s comprehensive plan to retain and recruit new officers.

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