In the most read article in our 16 year history, Major Travis Yates wrote “America, We Are Leaving,” which outlined what the future of law enforcement was going to look like.
“…There will be more threats, more accusations of racism and more lies told about us. I used to talk cops out of leaving the job. Now I’m encouraging them. It’s over America. You finally did it. You aren’t going to have to abolish the police, we won’t be around for it.”
While the majority of the feedback was overwhelmingly positive to Yates’ article, some of it was negative, including one of his former police chiefs that mocked the idea that law enforcement would leave the profession.
In the weeks that have followed, the article has served as a prophetic statement.
So many NYPD Officers have retired, the agency has limited the applications for retirement.
Hundreds of Minneapolis Officers have retired or sought for medical retirements and other agencies are seeing the same.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales said that “Law enforcement is being crucified,” and the current state of the profession will lead to early retirements and a drop in recruiting.
Sgt. Rob Pride, a national trustee with the Fraternal Order of Police. said that “There are officers in my department talking about wanting to get out of law enforcement early.”
And this week’s story out of a Columbus (OH) Sergeant is a microcosm of American Law Enforcement.
Due to the riots and protests, Columbus Sergeant Trent Taylor cites the lack of leadership and the constant accusations of racism as his decision to retire early, leaving over $400,000 in retirement benefits behind.
“You’re not going to have to dismantle the police department we’re going to leave on our own,” Trent Taylor told ABC6.
After 26 years of impeccable service, Taylor has left.
“When I went to personnel and took the badge, set it on the table and slid it across it was a very humbling moment, but I was waiting in line to turn my stuff in,” said Taylor.
A Columbus Police sergeant turned in his badge earlier than he wanted to after the downtown protests and riots.
— WSYX ABC 6 (@wsyx6) July 17, 2020
Taylor told ABC6 that “You had the peaceful protesters that were there with a good message they were doing everything we asked them to do they were peaceful they were respectful their voices were heard and then it got dark and then the thugs came out and all they did was loot riot pillage and burn the place down.”
Taylor describes helping others while “at at the same time the rioters who were throwing bottles and rocks at us…”
A United States Air Force veteran who served during the first Gulf War, Taylor had many roles within his agency from front line supervisor to vice and child abuse detective.
“I probably spent 4 years investigating allegations of physical abuse many of which were children of color. There were times when I went home in tears because I couldn’t help them so for your mayor and your city council to stand up on their podium every day and call us all racists ah that’s inexcusable,” said Taylor.
A news release dated May 29th from the office of Mayor Andrew Ginther stated racism exists in the Columbus Division of Police and that Chief Thomas Quinlan was working to eliminate it from the ranks.
A member of Chief Quinlan’s new advisory panel suggested Quinlan resign or be removed. J. Love Benton said if the culture of the police and policies that uphold racism and racist behavior doesn’t change.
In a news release dated May 29th, Mayor Ginther stated racism exists in the Columbus Division of Police, and that Chief Quinlan was working to eliminate it from the ranks. A member of Chief Quinlan’s Advisory Panel suggested Quinlan resign or be removed, J. Love Benton says, if the culture of the police and policies that uphold racism and racist behavior doesn’t change.
32 Columbus officers have retired in 2020 and more are coming.
Citing horrible leadership “at the top,” Taylor said there was no point to give an exit interview upon his retirement.
“Our morale has never been at a lower point than this right now people are leaving this department in droves,” said Taylor.
Like Yates, Taylor predicts that many more officers will leave their careers early.
In discussing leaving $400,000 behind, Taylor said that “it’s not worth the strife, it’s not worth it. It’s not worth the damage it’s doing to your home life, your marriage, your relationship with your kids.”
Yates closed out his article with this:
“If you think Minneapolis will turn into Mogadishu and that is far from you, it’s coming. And when it does, remember what your complicity did. This is the America that you made.”
Columbus Sergeant Trent Taylor is the beginning.
Many, many more are coming and all of us will suffer because of it.