By Mack Male
Nearly 100 Edmonton Police Service officers either left the force or announced plans to do so last year, a notable increase over previous years.
As of Dec. 14, 2022, 50 officers had resigned and 47 had announced their retirement, according to a report going to city council on March 14. EPS had projected total attrition of 60 sworn members for 2022, which is about the average number of officers who left the force in each of the previous five years.
The attrition rate of about 5% in 2022 is the first time the metric has hit the service's established "risk appetite" of less than or equal to 5% since 2014, when EPS saw a total of 78 sworn members leave the force.
As is often the case, some of the departing officers went to other police services across Canada to be closer to family, and some retired outright. But others resigned "citing a negative political environment that made the job less enjoyable," EPS spokesperson Aubrey Zalaski told Taproot. "EPS works at the very front lines of crime and social disorder and our people are not immune to the pressures that all front line workers have felt in recent years."
The service expects that attrition will remain similarly high in 2023. (Zalaski offered slightly different numbers for 2022 from those in the report to council, citing a total of 98 departures.)
Partly as a result of the larger-than-expected number of departures, preliminary figures show that EPS spent roughly $378 million on salary and benefits in 2022, about 1.5% less than budgeted. EPS currently has 2,014 sworn members, up from 1,968 as of 2021.