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Updated: January 7, 2023, 8:12 AM

‘Bleeding blue’: Cops flee NYPD in biggest exodus since 9/11

By Dean Balsamini

The NYPD saw 3,701 cops retire or resign in 2022, the most since the post-9/11 exodus in 2002, when 3,846 cops said goodbye to the job, according to data obtained by The Post. 

Pension fund numbers reveal the 2022 exits are 32% more than the 2,811 who left in 2021.

The mass migration took place as the NYPD hired 1,982 officers in 2022, leaving the department down some 1,700 cops, the data suggests.

Bail reform, resentment for the city’s vaccination mandate, the defund-the-police movement, cops feeling disrespected, and the lure of higher pay and lower stress proved to be the final push out the door for many cops.

“The city is bleeding blue and I think the blue line will get thinner,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “At this rate, continued public safety weighs in the balance. I’d be more concerned at the resignations than the retirements. Cops are leaving for better pay, benefits, and working conditions.”

Alexandre Tilan, 29, had six years on the job with the NYPD when he left the force in April, despite not being anywhere near the 22-year threshold for a half-pay retirement pension. He joined the St. Petersburg Police Department in Florida a month later.

“Since I’ve been here there’s been more respect,” said Tilan, now a member of the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association. “When I come to work, people say, ‘You’re always smiling.'”

“I was at top pay with the NYPD, which I think sits around $89,000. Right now … in Florida, I’m making $72,000,” said Tilan. “However, the weekly [take home is] higher because of the lack of state and city tax. When I reach top pay here it will be over $100,000.”

Tilan, who was assigned to the 72nd Precinct in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, noted the Florida “facilities are better, the precinct is nicer, you don’t have ceiling tiles falling down on you … It feels like you are more supported and you are given the tools to succeed.”

Tilan said in New York there is “professional frustration” when you make an arrest and the suspect is out “before the paperwork was dry.”

The burgeoning NYPD exodus began after the police-involved killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25, 2020. Outrage triggered calls by Democrats to defund the police along with nationwide protests, and a number of NYPD officers became collateral damage.

Ticked-off members are taking other civil service tests and heading to police departments in Long Island and out of state, or joining the better-paying Port Authority Police Department.

“Since I’ve been here there’s been more respect,” said Tilan, now a member of the Suncoast Police Benevolent Association. “When I come to work, people say, ‘You’re always smiling.'”

The current PAPD academy class has 138 recruits, with 60 who are former NYPD officers, said Robert Egbert, a PAPBA spokesman.

Spero Georgedakis, 52, a former Miami SWAT team officer, and the owner of Good Greek Moving & Storage, works with the Florida PBA to assist cops in their relocation to the state.

He’s even running ads to entice the troops to greener, sunnier pastures.

“It’s heartbreaking what’s happening [to the job in NYC],” said Georgedakis, who grew up in Queens wanting to be NYPD. “I still have friends and family in New York. They [the cops] are literally handcuffed and disrespected. It’s almost like cutting off your own nose to spite your face. You need the police. You need law and order.”

Said NYC PBA president Patrick Lynch: “Mayor Adams has said he wants to improve police officer morale and boost the NYPD’s headcount. The time to do that is now. The mass exodus is already significantly impacting NYPD operations. If it continues any longer, it will totally erase the public safety gains we’ve made over the past year.”