Staffing shortage in the Philadelphia Police Department becoming a crisis

"The city has to fill these positions. We need to be on a major recruiting mission," said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart.

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Friday, August 19, 2022
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Philadelphia is seeing a significant increase in officers leaving the force, and it could soon become a crisi

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police departments across the country are seeing shortages of officers since many are opting to leave the force for various reasons, including an overall dip in morale.

Philadelphia is also seeing a significant increase in officers leaving the force.

6abc's Data Journalism Team found that from 2020 to 2022 the number of officers who left through retirement, firings or by quitting increased from 119 in 2020 to 364 in 2021.

For this year, as of June, 262 officers have left and the city is on pace to lose more than 500 officers by the end of 2022.

And as for new recruits, the city is only averaging more than 100 so far this year.

"The city has to fill these positions. We need to be on a major recruiting mission," said City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, whose office opened an audit to review police staffing this year.

"We have to look at it as a concern, and also an oppportunity, to look at operations," she said. "Are there any positions that could be done by civilians that are being done by uniform officers?

The FOP said they are watching the numbers closely and aren't surprised morale is low.

"We're definitely more concerned because within the next couple of years we have 800 officers signed up for the (DROP) program where they get up to four years to retire," said Roosevelt Poplar, the Vice President of the Philadelphia FOP Lodge. "Based on numbers we've seen it's going to be worse."

"We're talking about at least 800 people over the next four years that have signed up for the drop. These times are very scary. They're very challenging. We have to come up with a solution to make this more attractive. The service calls, you're not going to get a response time, to me, that's adequate enough to really help and support people," said Poplar about his concerns for the public during this officer shortage.