In the past few months, American’s have watched as riots sweep the country. While often starting out as peaceful protests, many events quickly cross from peaceful to destructive and violent. As movements spread across the nation, police have taken the brunt of accusations of being racist and corrupt. This has led to attacks on many of the nation’s police officers, leading to injuries and even death in some cases. As tensions continue to mount, resolution seems far out of sight, leading to record numbers of police retirements in many areas of the country. This begs the question; will the nation experience a shortage of law enforcement officers due to an influx of retirements and limited replacements, subsequently leading to an increase in violent crime?
This seems to be precisely the case in Chicago where police officers have been retiring at about double the normal rate, leading to concerns that if the current trend continues police shortages will be a very real phenomenon.
This trend is predicted to continue during the coming year. In the current climate those who don’t have to stay, have little reason to due so. In addition to changes in health insurance, officers in Chicago report little to no support from the mayor with the current situation at hand.
Statistically speaking, Chicago is already unable to meet the increased demands on law enforcement as a result of protests, riots, and other related incidents of violence. As such, officers are already overburdened as they are required to work double or even triple shifts to meet the demand. With a significant increase in retirement all at one time, it is questionable if adequate replacements will be available. Even more concerning is the possibility that there will be a disinterest in society in general at becoming part of the police force due to changing opinions towards officers.
As present, as officers are increasingly more overworked, it is possible they will simply leave the police force to pursue other career opportunities if they are unable to retire. Employees are only able to be overburdened for so long until they will inevitably burnout physically, mentally, and emotionally. This may also lead to an increased burden on the mental health system, suicides, and domestic violence.
Sadly, looting in Chicago has already led to the injury of 13 officers. As the city continues to spiral further out of control, these issues seem no closer to resolution than they were at the start. Only time will tell the full impact that rioting and violence will have on law enforcement and the safety of the Chicago.