The Philadelphia Police Department is dealing with a police shortage as they struggle to attract and retain police officers.
The city’s police department, like other departments nationwide, is in “crisis” mode for recruiting as officers retire from their jobs. The situation is made worse by the national debate over police reform and the use of force, as well as the pandemic.
“It’s the perfect storm. We are anticipating that the department is going to be understaffed by several hundred members, because hundreds of guys are either retiring or taking other jobs and leaving the department,” Mike Neilon, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #5, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In Philadelphia, the city also requires prospective officers to be Philadelphia residents before applying.
The most recent class of police academy graduates graduated last December, and the next class is not expected to begin until May, WPVI reported.
Meanwhile, 79 officers have opted into the city’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, which means they want to retire within four years.
Officials say there are currently 268 vacancies in the Philadelphia Police Department.
Law enforcement officials say the decline in interest in police jobs has a lot to do with the national outcry over George Floyd’s death and the murder trial of his convicted killer, former Officer Derek Chauvin, and to general attitudes about police brutality.