The New York Police Department (NYPD) has extended a $5 million two-year contract with Los Angeles-based firm Walton Isaacson LLC to advise on police recruitment and media strategies. The agreement comes as the department struggles to increase recruitment levels while experiencing a mass exodus of officers.
The New York Post reports Walton Isaacson previously won a $54 million five-year contract with the city in 2018 to help stir up NYPD recruitment, but last year the number of recruits joining the force was still 5% smaller than it was in 2016. Despite the NYPD spending $3.7 million in advertising in 2022, Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch argued that “the city should stop wasting its money on recruiting ads and instead invest in a more effective recruiting tool: competitive compensation.”
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell acknowledged that recruitment has posed a “significant issue” and said the NYPD is getting “creative” in enticing prospective applicants, including by putting calls out at military bases and colleges. However, he made no mention of Walton Isaacson. Over the past five years, the NYPD also spent nearly $12 million in advertising for recruitment through the firm, with the tally ticking up each year except for during the height of the pandemic in 2020, spending records show. Nearly 40% of those funds were spent over the last 14 months.
The NYPD is struggling to retain officers, as poor morale pushes them out to other agencies offering much higher pay and quality of life. NYPD pension data shows that 239 officers left in January and February, a 36% spike from the 176 who left in the same period last year and a 117% increase from the 110 in 2021.