Magazine October 4, 2021, Issue

Where Have All the Officers Gone?

(Roman Genn)
Police departments around the country are losing staff and struggling to recruit

Asheville, N.C.

After the police department in this midsize mountain city lost more than a third of its force to resignations and retirements last year, bringing in seven new academy graduates in December seemed like a small step in the right direction.

As its roster fell from 238 officers to only about 150, the department had to drop some community services and saw its response times climb. Department leaders gutted detective units to put more officers on road patrol. Officers were forced to triage calls, and they stopped responding in person to some they deemed low-priority.

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This article appears as “Officer Exodus” in the October 4, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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Ryan Mills is an enterprise and media reporter at National Review. He previously worked for 14 years as a breaking news reporter, investigative reporter, and editor at newspapers in Florida. Originally from Minnesota, Ryan lives in the Fort Myers area with his wife and two sons.

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