Bernard Kerik, former commissioner of the New York Police Department and a bestselling author, doesn't share New York City Mayor Eric Adams' optimism about the department's future, in the wake of a reported 1,500 officers either retiring or resigning from the force — the largest one-year exodus on record.
Citing an earlier Newsmax report, via the New York Post, NYPD pension statistics show 524 resignations and 1,072 retirements as of May 31.
On Wednesday's "Rob Schmitt Tonight," where he appeared with retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith, formerly of the Naperville, Illinois, Police Department, Kerik disagreed with Adams' statement that being an NYPD officer — in this current climate of high crime and what Kerik calls government apathy — is "one of the best careers you can have in the city."
From Kerik's perspective, it's hard to maximize the department's potential when officers are dealing with rampant crime (reportedly up 45% from last year in the city), low morale in the ranks, and not having the full support of the NYPD's executive team, including the mayor.
"The cops are leaving because they're afraid to do their jobs. They feel they're not supported," Kerik told Newsmax host Rob Schmitt.
"They don't have the backing of [Mayor Adams — a retired NYPD captain], or the department. This has been going on for the last several years. For the mayor to say he's 'not concerned,' that, in itself, is a big concern."
Kerik added, "When [officers] are leaving at that number, when they're leaving because they're afraid to stay on the job, you're not going to have a [deep] hiring pool."
Case in point: Kerik said his NYPD graduation class in 1986 had roughly 2,200 members — men and women who were eager and ready to help New York City (and the surrounding areas) recover from the high-crime period of the mid-to late 1970s.
Fast forward to the present: The NYPD "can't get 400 or 500 [graduates] at a time today," Kerik explained. "Bottom line: No one wants to come to New York City, if you don't have an executive staff that's going to back [the police force] and support them. Period."
The NYPD has incurred a 38% increase in officer turnover this year compared with 2021 (1,159 departures).
Sgt. Brantner Smith, a 29-year police veteran and current spokesperson for the National Police Association in Tucson, Arizona, agrees with Kerik's sentiment on personnel.
She also said that in terms of opportunity, there's a major discrepancy between serving New York City and conservative-leaning states that seemingly place a higher priority on law and order.
Other factors include lifestyle, job responsibilities, chance for advancement, community respect and, of course, money.
Brantner Smith says NYPD officers are leaving their jobs — prior to the 20-year service commitment — for positions with an average starting pay north of $60,000, compared with the NYPD average starting salary of $42,000 per year.
"Police officers [in New York] don't feel supported. So why would [others] want to come to the NYPD?" Brantner Smith asked.
Instead, "they'll come to places like Florida, Texas, and here in Arizona ... where they can be treated better, and they can be backed up, like the commissioner says."
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