Morale stinks. Here’s why. Now what?
For several years now, police departments nationwide have been experiencing recruitment problems and an increase in employee attrition. As the shortage worsens, it begs the question of why police departments have been unable to recruit or retain qualified personnel. One readily identifiable culprit is low morale, which researchers have found to significantly influence officers’ decision to leave police service — to say nothing of its link to other organizational problems, such as corruption and inefficiency.
In New York City, the police department since 1998 has experienced a sharp decline in the number of applicants taking its recruit exams, along with an exponential increase in the number of officers who retire or resign — and, again, many commentators have linked these problems to low morale. What has hampered the debate over officer morale in the NYPD, however, is a lack of hard empirical data. No recent scholarly research had been conducted to measure officers’ attitudes...