NEW YORK (NewsNation) — A morale issue is plaguing the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department amid changes in hierarchy.
Critics blame Mayor Eric Adams the departments’ commissioners for the issues, while some believe it’s a manufactured problem created by disgruntled workers who don’t like the two women leading the departments.
In 2022, more than 3,000 NYPD officers either retired or resigned. This year, the department is on track to surpass that number.
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (PBA), which represents more than 30,000 police officers, confirmed to NewsNation that 239 officers resigned during January and February of this year.
Officers said they’re being overworked with long hours and low pay, so they’re going to other departments with better salaries or relocating to cities with a better quality of life. States like Florida and Virginia have been heavily recruiting NYPD officers.
The PBA says NYPD is cracking down on officers who wear their beards too long or drink too much coffee on the job, among other things.
“It is absolutely mindboggling that monitoring beard length and sock color are the NYPD’s top priorities right now. New York City police officers can’t pay their bills. They never get to see their families. They are battling every day against perps who have no fear and a justice system that delivers no consequences. The only thing these new inspections units will accomplish will be worsening the NYPD’s historic staffing crisis,” The PBA said in a release to NewsNation.
During a radio interview on Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams was asked about a recent decision to move Juanita Holmes, the NYPD’s former chief of training, to the probation commission which some see as a demotion.
The move comes as Holmes and NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell were in a controversial debate involving police training and rapper Cardi B.
Holmes and Sewell didn’t agree on the running requirement for cadets at the police academy. Sewell also took issue with Holmes inviting rapper Cardi B to speak to a group of teenage girls without her knowledge and approval.
Adams sided with Holmes.
“I thought it was brilliant that Chief Holmes is now Commissioner Holmes brought Cardi B in to talk to young ladies. She has this thing called Girl’s Talk; she has been doing it for years,” Adams said.
Meanwhile, FDNY is also dealing with a morale problem after a series of unexpected demotions. Three high-ranking chiefs were demoted by Fire Commissioner Laura Kavanaugh in February.
Some veteran chiefs have requested “voluntary demotions” as a show of solidarity, but Kavanaugh hasn’t accepted their requests; she hopes they’ll change their mind.
Throughout the department, firefighters say the abrupt demotions have hurt morale and they blame Kavanaugh, who’s the first woman to be appointed fire commissioner in New York City.
Supporters of both Kavanaugh and Sewell said they’re being treated unfairly by some in their departments because they’re women who demand respect and accountability from the men and women who work under their command.