KANSAS CITY, MO. (KCTV) — In a year full of protests, harsh criticism of police and calls for the Chief of Police to step down, many officers are saying, “Enough.”
Kansas City Police officers are resigning and retiring in record numbers. And the president of the Police Union says the community needs to know and understand there will be consequences.
“It’s just too much,” said Brad Lemon, president of the FOP. “I mean it has just got to the point where it’s just too much.”
So far this year, 46 officers have retired or resigned. Some are turning to private security or construction. Lemon expects the trend to continue.
“We’re going to lose about 100 to 110 officers this year which is a huge increase over any other year we’ve ever had,” said Lemon.
If that happens, that’s about a 10 percent drop in Kansas City’s police force. It would leave the force near the number of officers the city had around 1980.
What’s happening in Kansas City reflects a nationwide trend. Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and New York all report record resignations and retirements. Some departments say it’s almost 20% of their department.
To make matters worse, as the number of officers is declining, there is record violence. Kansas City had more murders last year than any year since records were kept. And it’s on pace to at least match that this year.
“There will be real consequences in the Northland for this, and there will be real consequences in the far south for this.” said Lemon. “I think the communities and the people that live in those areas have got to get a voice and say enough is enough.”
There is no police recruitment class scheduled for this year, and Lemon points out, it is tough to recruit in this environment. Highlighting the reality that there are no easy answers.