RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The past year or so has been a complete change in life for many.
Amid the pandemic and protests, cities in the U.S. are also seeing a change in leadership among police departments.
“Almost half of the major city police chiefs in the country have turned over in the last year,” said Chuck Wexler. He is the Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum. The nonprofit is based in Washington, D.C. Wexler described it as a police think-tank.
“Normal turnover is about 25 percent, but look let’s face it — this past year, in the wake of the George Floyd incident, calls for police reform, it’s never been more challenging to be a police chief,” Wexler said.
He said the nonprofit has helped cities like Louisville, Kentucky, and Lincoln, Nebraska find their new chiefs. Now, he said they are tasked with helping the U.S. Capitol police find its top cop.
“Every police chief in this country is one bad incident away from losing their job,” Wexler said.
Back in October, the Wall Street Journal compiled a list of about 16 cities whose police chiefs left in 2020.
It’s not just bigger cities. The North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police has numerous police chief openings posted on its website, including the Town of Apex.
“You know, it all depends on what a city is looking for. If everything is going well for a cit,y the tendency is to stay within,” Wexler said.
“But today, the expectations for police chiefs are off the charts. How are you rethinking policing?”
Wexler also said not only is the turnover high among police chiefs, but the number of officers resigning or retiring early is accelerating.