Police departments in Massachusetts are grappling with a sharp increase in officers resigning or retiring as the state slashes a generous bonus program that had boosted police paychecks for years, the Boston Globe reports. Last month, when the benefit cuts took effect, 21 Boston officers, detectives, and supervisors left or retired. That was is a dramatic increase over previous years; in the last five Januarys, between 6 and 10 officers left.
Police in other places report a similar pattern, which they attribute both to a drop in the take-home pay for officers and chiefs who have degrees related to law enforcement and to concerns about how proposed changes to the state's pension system might affect the retirement income of police officers. Meanwhile, the numbers seeking to become police officers have plunged. In 2007, 11,357 took the exam required to become a police officer, a huge drop from the 21,625 who took it in 1997. “It is worrisome,'” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis. “We're in a tough situation as far as the replacement of these officers.  We lose experience – that's the single biggest issue.''