Record Number of Cops Quit in Kentucky in Wake of Anti-Police Protests

Protesters stand in front of Kentucky State Police officers as they protest the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. Breonna Taylor, a black woman, was fatally shot by police in her home in March. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) said that the national climate that is “attacking and demonizing the police” has led to a record number of cops quitting and retiring in Kentucky.

The local ABC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky, reported on the development taking place in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died last month in police custody:

Nationwide, police departments say they’re losing people fast. Faster now than in recent memory. In Kentucky, the FOP says it’s most noticeable in the state’s two biggest cities.

“Louisville’s numbers are exponentially higher. I know they’ve had right at 20 in the last month retire or leave,” says Clark County Sheriff and FOP President Berl Purdue.

Six Lexington officers retired in June, according to Lexington Bluegrass Lodge 4 FOP President Lt. Jonathan Bastian. He says four more are leaving at the end of summer.

“I’ve had a number of them say that given the current environment it’s just the time, it’s the time now to do it,” Bastian said. “One of them even said he knew it was time [to retire] because his kids were now asking him to not go to work.”

The report includes comments about how improvements can be made in policing but that the current climate is not conducive to positive change.

“Are there things we could do better? Absolutely, and there are things we’re going to do better,” Purdue said.

“But they say something’s getting lost, that deaths and police abuse happening elsewhere in the country are hurting good officers and their families here who don’t deserve the blame,” the media outlet reported.

“Our membership and our police officers are wiling [sic] to take on a lot of those stressors and face a lot of those difficulties, and sometimes the ugliness that we’ve been facing on the streets, there’s also a burden on our families,” Bastian said.

“They just feel like they’ve been abandoned,” Purdue said.

“FOP leaders worry about being able to keep their cities safe not only because they say they’re losing experienced officers but also because they worry it’ll be harder to attract new ones,” WTVQ reported.

“Applications for police departments and sheriff’s office for the last five years are down anywhere between 25 to 40 percent,” Purdue said.

Bastian said that some police are questioning their career choice.

“They and their loved ones are now saying, ‘Do I want to do twenty more years of this? What is twenty more years of this gonna look like?’” he said.

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