In the coming months, 900 recruits will enter the NYPD's training academy, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said, helping replenish a department that has lost more than 2,000 officers since the summer.
The recruits will help restore NYPD ranks to levels agreed upon in the city budget, Shea said in a news release Monday.
"The establishment of this new class is welcome news as these officers will begin the 2021 calendar year by continuing the department’s mission to engage with the community while zeroing in on the drivers of crime," Shea said. "Once they graduate, every single one of these officers will play a critical role in neighborhood policing and ensuring residents in all five boroughs experience the level of public safety they deserve."
From the end of May through September, thousands of NYPD officers retired or put in for retirement, a 75% increase over the same period last year, police officials said.
The COVID-19 pandemic thinned the ranks and two previous academy classes were delayed due to the pandemic, officials said. But frustration with bail reform and other criminal justice measures passed by the City Council and in Albany had also led many seasoned officers to leave, Paul DiGiacomo, head of the Detective’s Endowment Association, said in September.
The reform efforts made it more difficult for officers to do their jobs, DiGiacomo said, and the summer's anti-police demonstrations hurt morale.
"We are losing a lot of talent, especially in the detective bureau," DiGiacomo said. "Replacing is one thing, learning and teaching is another."
At the time, Shea said there was no prospect of the department getting fresh recruits in the short term since the budget cuts had stalled new hiring. While the NYPD had close to 36,000 uniformed members earlier in the year, the rate of attrition had dropped about 2,000 officers from the rolls by September, Shea said.
The new recruits mean the "head count will come closer to the level expected in the Adopted Budget, " the release said. "After enduring months of higher than usual levels of attrition, this upcoming class will help restore the NYPD’s staffing."
The first class will enter the academy on Dec. 29. Additional classes will enter the academy on a rolling basis through February.