A police officer from Phoenix, Arizona, announced on the radio that he would be resigning last week after the dispatcher told him that his shift was being held over for mandatory overtime amid a staffing shortage.
KNXV reported that the Phoenix Police Department is one of many across the country that has been suffering from staffing shortages in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year.
The Phoenix Police Department currently has 1,045 patrol officers, which is 51 officers below what is supposed to be the department’s required minimum goal of 1,096 officers on the streets. Though the city has a budget for 3,000 sworn personnel, the police department only has a total of 2,270.
Phoenix Police Officer Mark Rine, a seven-year veteran of the force, announced that he would be resigning at the end of his shift on November 6 after both the dispatcher and his supervisor told him that he would have to work later. In the audio recording of what went down, the dispatcher can be heard saying, “I think we’re also mandatory holdover until the calls go down,” meaning that she had no idea when he would be going home.
A supervisor then came on to tell Officer Rine that “we’re being held over for a little bit.”
“If you can get out and answer some calls, I’d appreciate it,” he added.
Rine, however, was not having any of it. Without missing a beat, he said, “33 Henry – I’ll be going upstairs to fill out my resignation letter then.”
That’s exactly what he did, sending in a scathing resignation letter that was obtained by The Police Tribune.
“I can no longer work in an environment where equal accountability does not exist,” Officer Rine wrote.
“I can no longer work in an environment where I do other squad and shift’s work, do my own, and then be demanded to do the next shifts work as well,” the resignation letter continued. “I will no longer work in an environment where I am told I cannot go eat until work left from a previous shift is done. I will no longer work in an environment where I am held to a different standard than the shifts, squads, officers, and Lieutenants before.”
“I will no longer work in an environment where a Lieutenant punishes an entire squad, holds over an entire squad, because one or two people will not ‘volunteer’ to hold over,” Officer Rine added. “I will no longer work hard, as hard as I can, work across the city to help as much as I can, and then get abused and run over by my chain of command.”
“I will no longer work in an environment where politics are more important than doing what is right. I am tired of being used, being abused, running on little food, and little sleep,” he concluded. “I resign my position. God will provide.”
Ben Leuschner, a Phoenix police lieutenant and current president of the Phoenix Police Sergeants and Lieutenants Association (PPSLA), explained that many officers are retiring or quitting because they feel constantly being attacked by the media, not being supported by city leadership.
“I’ve never seen it this bad, the negativity coming from outside the police department on our members. And that takes a toll,” Leuschner said. “They feel extremely attacked at times. And when you’re in a job where you don’t know if the next call you go on is the end of your career, that leads some people to start going ‘maybe this is not the right career.'”