The Asheville, N.C., Police Department has announced it will no longer send officers to non-emergency criminal complaints because it is currently suffering a “staffing crisis” and is short of officers.
The policy change is designed to free up officers so they are available for the most serious offenses and incidents, the department noted in a social media post.
The department said its officers won’t respond in person to 911 calls that involve some incidents where there is no suspect information; harassment phone calls that are not considered to be life-threatening unless they are somehow tied to domestic violence or stalking; scams including identity theft; trespassing complaints that do not include anyone pressing charges; and other incidents, according to a Wednesday announcement.
The APD posted a full list of calls that no longer qualify for an officer response on its Facebook page.
The change comes as the department’s uniformed staff dropped by 84 officers since the beginning of 2020, according to the department. Public documents note that the department had 238 sworn officers as of 2019 for a population of roughly 92,000.
Rather than request an officer, the APD is asking alleged victims of listed crimes to file a report via a “Police to Citizen” online tool. In addition, city residents can call a phone number and ask that an officer respond when one is available to do so, though the department says residents are liable to see a “significant” delay due to the shortage.
The dearth of officers in Ashville follows a similar pattern in other medium-sized and large cities cross the country.
In New York City, for instance, between 2019 and 2020 — about the time the ‘defund the police’ movement began in earnest and after anti-police sentiment in left-wing cities spiked in the years prior — the number of officers who either quit or took early retirement skyrocketed 75 percent.
“The exodus — amid the pandemic, anti-cop hostility, riots and a skyrocketing number of NYC shootings — saw 2,600 officers say goodbye to the job and another 2,746 file for retirement, a combined 5,346,” the New York Post reported in April.
Philadelphia is experiencing a similar shortage, police officials there noted.
“We are anticipating that the department is going to be understaffed by several hundred members, because hundreds of guys are either retiring or taking other jobs and leaving the department,” Mike Neilon, a spokesperson for a local police union, told local media.
Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, placed the blame squarely on militant leftist policies that are decidedly anti-police and anti-law enforcement in general.
“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them. NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers,” he told The Post.
The exodus from the thinning blue line stems primarily from a loss of faith in leadership, both civilian and police, as well as a major decline in morale stemming from a strongly perceived lack of support.
“Two major police union officials said law enforcement morale is declining so sharply that they wouldn’t want their own sons to join the force, particularly as violence targeting police officers increases,” Daily Caller contributor Jake Dima wrote in July.
“I took this job after my father did, and I will not let my sons take this job,” said NYPD Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA) Vice President Vincent Vallelong last year, referring to his two sons, then 19 and 17.
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