The LA Times reported this week that a survey of LAPD officers found nearly 9 out of 10 of them are not happy with their police chief and 40% were thinking of leaving. The reason? They feel unsupported and are not happy with the Chief’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests:
Nearly 9 out of 10 Los Angeles Police Department officers did not feel supported by Chief Michel Moore and did not believe he or other commanders provided strong leadership during recent protests and unrest, according to a summer survey conducted by the officers’ union.
Many officers said Moore should resign, accusing him in comments they submitted with the survey of “cowering” to Black Lives Matter protesters, “pandering” to city politicians and “not having an organized plan” during the unrest, the union said.
Nearly 70% of respondents said the department was unprepared for the protests, which followed the May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and close to 40% said they were thinking of leaving the force.
One thing in particular that bothered respondents was Moore’s decision to take a knee for protesters.
However, officers panned the chief for kneeling with protesters — a sign, to them, that he was capitulating to a violent crowd. Many questioned why he did not highlight more of the positives about officers as protests spawned more and more questions about LAPD behavior, the union said.
At the time, Moore was apologizing for comments he had made that looters were as responsible for the death of George Floyd as police officers. That comment became big news and he was trying to walk it back when he came out and briefly kneeled with protesters. Still, the rank and file saw it as a case of literally not standing up for police officers who were verbally and sometimes physically under attack.
The dissatisfaction that LAPD officers are feeling appears to be widespread. The NY Post reported this week that more NYPD officers had resigned or retired through the start of October than in all of last year:
More than 2,400 police officers have filed paperwork to take their pensions through the first week of October, a new report by the Independent Budget Office found.
Those figures for the first nine months of the year amount to a 25 percent jump over the roughly 2,000 retirements reported for the entirety of 2019.
Similar jumps in retirement are happening around the country for similar reasons:
A survey of news stories indicates that across America’s 50 largest cities, at least 23 have seen chiefs or line officers resign, retire, or take disability this year. Nearly 3,700 beat cops have left, a large proportion from the NYPD (down 7 percent of its officers) but with big drops in Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Atlanta, and elsewhere, too. The Major Cities Chiefs Association told the Wall Street Journal that 18 of its 69 member executives had retired, resigned, or been fired over the past year…
In city after city, departing officers cite a hostile climate, including the rioting that recently left 30 officers injured in Philadelphia. In Seattle, those who left (over 100 this year) cited fears for their personal safety and the agenda of the “socialist” city council as their reason for quitting. In San Francisco, nearly 30 officers have left because of the attitudes of everyone from homeowners to the homeless: “It’s . . . nice working at a place where everyone isn’t mad at you,” one former SFPD officer, now in Texas, said.
For his part, Chief Moore sent an email to his officers over the weekend promising he would do better. That might help a little but I get the impression what officers around the country really want is not for their chiefs to apologize in private but to stand up for them in public. Unless and until that happens, the attrition rate will continue to be high.
Here’s CBS LA’s report on the survey: