NEW YORK — There was a round of applause Friday for NYPD Deputy Inspector Richard Brea as the Bronx precinct commander retired after nearly three decades on the force.
He is calling it quits due to frustration with department leadership, Law Officer reported. The commander is far from alone.
A wave of NYPD officers have filed retirement papers in the weeks following George Floyd’s death on May 25, refocusing attention on police morale amid widespread protests and calls to defund law enforcement.
Thus far in June, the NYPD says 233 members have filed for retirement, nearly double compared to the same time last year, CBS New York reported.
The NYPD told Fox News on Saturday that 272 officers have filed for retirement between Floyd’s death and June 23. That represents a 49 percent increase over the same period in 2019.
Resignations and actual retirements have remained relatively stable with 135 retirements in 2020 and 131 during the same time last year. According to the department, that’s because the recent spate of filings hasn’t been processed yet.
The department saw a total of 35 resignations in 2019. They’ve already eclipsed that number in 2020, with 36; and the year isn’t half over.
Sparking the exodus is that hundreds of police officers have reportedly been injured as protests and riots have rocked the nation, New York Post reported. That included hundreds from the NYPD as the city weighed cutting its budget and transferring funds to other programs in the city.
One specific explanation provided for Brea’s decision to leave was the department’s decision to disband its anti-crime unit.
Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged the drastic change in the department when he made the announcement earlier this month.
“This is a seismic shift in the culture of how the NYPD polices this great city,” Commissioner Shea said in a statement. “I would consider this in the realm of closing one of the last chapters of ‘Stop, Question and Frisk’… I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains. We can do it with guile. We can move away from brute force.”
Shea conceded that the decision does not come without “risk” and said the move is “squarely on my shoulders.”
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the New York Post that officers were at their “breaking point.”
“We are all asking the same question: ‘How can we keep doing our job in this environment?’” he said. “And that is exactly what the anti-cop crowd wants. If we have no cops because no one wants to be a cop, they will have achieved their ultimate goal.”