Public Safety, Cities Crime Control, Policing
May 16th, 2023 2 Minute Read Testimony by Rafael A. Mangual

Testimony Before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee

Rafael A. Mangual testified in a hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Subcommittees on Counterterrorism, Law Enforcement, and Intelligence & Emergency Management and Technology.

Chairmen Pfluger and D’Esposito, distinguished members of the Committees, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify on a matter of great importance.

The law enforcement community is facing many challenges, the most significant of which—particularly in and around major cities—involve responding to a real increase in crime at a time in which many agencies are struggling with officer recruitment and retention. In many parts of the country, police are being asked to shoulder a much bigger burden with respect to crime and disorder, and they’re being asked to do so with fewer and/or less-experienced officers.

In 2019, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) surveyed its member agencies on this issue. Only 12% reported not facing a shortage of full-time sworn personnel; a plurality of respondents reported that their shortages had increased over the prior five years.[1] A 2021 follow-up survey reported a 5% decline in the hiring rate, an 18% increase in the resignation rate, and a 45% spike in the retirement rate, relative to the prior year.[2] The largest agencies bore the brunt of these trends. And while a more recent PERF survey showed an increase in police hiring in 2022, the increase was outpaced by resignations and retirements, driving a continued overall decline in total staffing. Even if hiring kept up, departments would nevertheless have to contend with the decline in the median experience levels of their officers, as retirees take their institutional and practical knowledge with them.

Click here to read the full testimony


Rafael Mangual is the Nick Ohnell Fellow and head of research for the Policing and Public Safety Initiative at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. He is also the author of Criminal (In)Justice: What the Push for Decarceration and Depolicing Gets Wrong and Who It Hurts Most.


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