When former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and then-Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal consent decree in 2012, the city's police department employed more than 1,300 sworn officers. Now, fewer than 1,000 officers remain after a net loss of one in six officers since the start of last year. More than 90 have left the force this year as of early July, according to police officer groups. That’s about the same number who resigned, retired or were fired in all of 2020.

The departing thoughts of veteran officers and newbies alike lend biting and often emotional detail to a recent NOPD-commissioned survey that reflected similar discontent, with pay a distant second in the reasons officers gave for leaving in droves. 

Overly punitive discipline and restrictive policies were nearly twice as likely to be cited as a reason for officers’ departure than was pay, according to the survey by SSA Consultants.

Officers went further in their exit interviews, speaking of crippling internal politics, run-down gear, a lack of support from police brass, disciplinary head-hunting, and for many officers, little sign of an NOPD ready to address its problems, NOLA.com reports.