NYPD graduates

THIRD TIME NOT A CHARM?: An NYPD academy class scheduled to start this month may be cancelled, presumably because of the city’s severe budget constraints. The cancellation would be the third this year, following those that had been planned for March and July. Above, members of the October 2019 class at their Madison Square Garden graduation.

Despite budget and other constraints, Commissioner Dermot Shea Oct. 8 said the department hopes to still be able to enroll an academy class this month, according to a department spokesperson. 

Another NYPD spokesperson, citing conversations with superiors, earlier in the week had said it had been canceled. 

Should the October class be canceled, just January’s 530 recruits will have graduated this year. March and July classes were scrapped, the first because of the pandemic, the second attributable to budget cuts. 

Talking With Mayor’s Office

“We’re still hopeful” the October class can begin later this month, Det. Denise Moroney said Oct. 8. She said the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio’s office were in discussions about “several variables” that would permit the class to go ahead.

On top of a record-high number of officers retiring or leaving the department, the NYPD already is contending with a headcount shortage as it confronts heady challenges: dramatic increases in violent crime and a recurring wave of the coronavirus, the first of which laid up nearly 20 percent of the uniformed workforce in the spring.

With three months still left in the year, the number of NYPD officers who retired from the service through September was already 86 percent higher than for all of 2019. 

Commissioner Shea, notwithstanding a sobering assessment, said officers will step up.

“Unfortunately, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” he said during an NY1 interview Oct. 6. “We are seeing significant attrition.”

Mr. Shea said “these are not normal times by any stretch of the imagination,” and added that he was proud of officers working “in tough circumstances” and with diminished resources. 

The Police Benevolent Association’s president, Patrick J. Lynch, said the wave of retirements reflected “the highest attrition rate” in more than a decade, and came just as violent crime was spiking. 

“Our department has never seen so much talent and experience walking off the job as we have these past few months,” he said in a statement. “And thanks to the City Council and Mayor’s ‘Defund the Police’ lunacy, no help is coming any time soon. Our elected leaders need to be held responsible for the dangerous path they’ve chosen.”

Nearly Double 2019 Exits

Through September, 2,070 cops had filed for retirement. Through the first nine months of last year, 1,110 officers had filed, and 1,360 for all of 2019. An average of 1,754 retired each year in the preceding decade, but they were succeeded by roughly the same number of academy graduates, if not more. 

The contingent of officers leaving the department in June, 365, was twice that of June 2019. Retirements then spiked in July and August, when 516 and 331 officers left the force, 242 percent and 360 percent, respectively, more than retired during those months last year. Another 196 officers filed in September, compared to the 74 12 months earlier.

As of Sept. 30, the NYPD counted 34,496 officers among its ranks, the lowest in at least a decade, according to department statistics, a number that will dip further as more cops file for retirements.

Graduates from the March and July classes would have brought 1,163 new cops to city streets, and the October class an estimated 550. Total savings from the cancellation of the March and July classes, penciled in through at least 2024, are estimated at $81 million, according to the Citizens Budget Commission.

During his morning appearance on NY1, Mr. Shea left open the possibility of an academy class beginning this month―“We’re waiting to see now what happens,” he said―but acknowledged “it’s very,very difficult times financially, so the attrition is what’s coming up against that, and at this point any reinforcements is a minimum of six months out.” 

According to the department’s spokesperson, though, superior officers later said the class had been nixed.

Another police source also said the class “doesn’t look like it’s happening.” 

Gun Busts, Killings Spike

And while gun arrests last month outpaced every other September in the last quarter-century, according to the department, killings and shootings escalated once again. The NYPD said 51 people were killed while the department recorded 152 shootings last month, compared to 29 murdered and 67 shootings in September 2019.

The 607 gun busts were 300 more than those effected in September 2019. Through the first nine months, they are up 7 percent compared to the same period last year. 

Still, the 51 murders were 22 more than were killed in September 2019, and shootings more than doubled from last September's 67. 

Through that month, 344 people had been murdered, 40 percent more than the 246 people killed through the first nine months of last year. Year to year, shootings jumped 91 percent, to 1,163 from 608. 

“Despite the unparalleled challenges they face every day, our officers continue to engage with the community and zero in on the drivers of crime,” Commissioner Shea said in a statement accompanying the crime statistics.

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Snake Plissken

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