INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The number of IMPD officers quitting their jobs has reached alarming levels, according to the union president.
“What we are starting to see is signs of a mass exodus from the police department,” said FOP president Rick Snyder.
Snyder spoke out about his concerns because he says city leaders need to get ahead of the problem.
Snyder says in a perfect world, IMPD’s hiring would resemble a funnel, with a lot of qualified candidates coming in and very few leaving.
Unfortunately, he says for a variety of reasons this year, IMPD’s hiring funnel has been turned upside down.
“Logistically, it does not appear possible to outhire the number of officers that are leaving,” said Snyder.
Exactly one year ago to the day, a high speed chase ended with two IMPD officers shooting and killing an unarmed Aaron Bailey.
A controversial merit board hearing this year, in which the two officers were allowed to keep their jobs despite the chief’s request they be fired, fractured morale within the department, according to Snyder.
“Officers feel like they are being treated like the bad guys versus having the support they need,” said Snyder.
Snyder now claims the department will lose 96 officers this year and maybe more, with only 86 budgeted to be hired. That difference comes during a time of record violence.
On the other hand, the police chief says the number of expected departures is actually 85. Although that number is higher than the 69 they initially predicted, most of those are retirements that have nothing to do with morale.
“It concerns us people are leaving. That’s a lot of knowledge walking out the door, but we’re an older police department,” said IMPD chief Bryan Roach. “I haven’t heard because that anyone retired because of a decision I made or because of morale. This is a different job than it was 20 years ago.”
While the IMPD just swore in a new recruit class this month, many factors, like a strong economy and violence against police nationwide has made it difficult to recruit.
Still, the chief says the goal remains gaining 31 new officers every year for 4 years, for a total of 1,712 at the end of this year.
“I anticipate I may not be at that 1,712, but we’ll have more officers on this department than we’ve ever had,” said Roach.