PITTSBURGH — Hundreds of Pittsburgh Police officers are eligible to retire today, and no new officers are in the pipeline to replace them.
On top of that, the city has seen a dramatic decline in the number of police applicants.
Every month, officers are retiring or resigning, and the city has not hired any new officers in two years.
“There’s been no academy class. You have 264 people who could retire today. Is this a crisis?” asked Target 11 investigator Rick Earle.
“An absolute crisis. It’s terrifying as a citizen of the city myself. And just for people who want to visit the city for businesses that decide they want to settle here and have businesses here. Your police force is crumbling on the inside,” said Bob Swartzwelder, the police union president, who has been sounding the alarm for months now.
At the police union hall, Swartzwelder tracks the numbers on a wall.
24 officers have already retired or resigned this year.
264 officers are eligible to leave now, and no new officers have been hired in more than two years, due to a hiring freeze prompted by the “Defund the police” movement and exacerbated by the pandemic financial crisis.
“This is telling right here. You have nobody?” asked Earle, while looking at the board, on which no new recruits were listed.
“Correct,” said Swartzwelder.
“Nobody here ready to fill those people when they retire,” said Earle.
“Correct. At all,” replied Swartzwelder.
An internal report completed by an independent agency and obtained by Target 11 expressed serious concerns about manpower.
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