After a summer and fall of anti-police protests around the country, reports that departments were having trouble retaining and hiring officers, the NYPD announced Tuesday afternoon that roughly 1,000 less people took interest in taking New York City’s police exam this year compared to last.
More than 14,500 applicants filed between April 7 and May 4, authorities said. This is the department’s first recruiting campaign in two years.
The city had even offered the test for free this year, dropping the $40 filing fee in a bid to attract more candidates. Authorities also extended the signup deadline by a week, but it was still shorter than a normal year.
Officials reported receiving 425 applicants a day this year, an unorthodox statistical breakdown, but said the last two exams averaged 350 a day. Nearly a third of the total applications came in during the one-week extension.
“We outpaced what happened in the last four exams,” NYPD Chief of Personnel Martin Morales said during a news briefing Tuesday. “And the daily application pace quickened once we waived the filing fee.”
Despite lower numbers, Commissioner Dermot Shea said he saw some positive signs, as the department’s efforts to recruit Black and minority officers had surpassed expectations.
Roughly 70% of this year’s applicants identified themselves as minorities, Morales said, nearly a 10% increase over the last four exams, the most recent of which took place in fall 2019. And 29.2% identified as Black or African American, an 11.4% increase in the same period.
The exams will be held from mid-June through August.
The NYPD, the country’s largest police force, includes 77 precincts and 12 transit districts, as well as nine patrol areas for public housing developments.
Despite reports of low morale among officers and left-wing calls to defund police departments around the country, Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said during the news briefing that residents in crime-stricken communities want “not fewer police, but more police.”