Editorial: The departures of the police and the mayor show the needs of public services

“They didn’t feel like they were appreciated.”

That’s what Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert told WESA in July 2021. He was talking about how his officers were retiring, resigning, or quitting their jobs. He attributed it largely to having taken on other law enforcement jobs.

On May 27, Schubert announced he was leaving the Pittsburgh Police Department after 29 years.

“After careful consideration and an important discussion with my family, I have made the decision that it is time to step down as Chief and allow one of my brothers or sisters in blue to serve this great city and this legendary institution,” he said.

On Monday, a police spokeswoman confirmed that the chief was doing what those other officers had done: leaving for another post in law enforcement. He will serve as the FBI section chief overseeing global law enforcement support at the Criminal Justice Information Services headquarters in Clarksburg, W.Va.

It is not just a loss felt in police stations and not just in big cities. The flight of longtime leaders is also happening in small towns and elected offices.

In 2021, the number of civil servants quitting the jobs they campaigned for was skyrocketing after a year of battling covid-19 – not to mention an economic crisis, racial tensions that spread after George’s death Floyd and one of the most controversial presidential elections. elections in the history of the United States.

Over the weekend, Freeport Mayor James Swartz Jr. followed suit, resigning after 38 years of public service. His senior year was marked by problems with the police department, including a chief who left to take a job in another department and another who left his badge and keys on the desk less than a day after make an oath.

“When your heart isn’t in it, it’s time to get out there,” Swartz said.

This is perhaps the best explanation for why people are moving away from jobs they once loved, including nursing and teaching. The hardships of the past few years have exhausted many people and left others on a perpetual knife edge of anxiety. But it still leaves communities with leadership gaps that need to be filled.

Schubert’s comment that officers feel unappreciated and Swartz’s statement about his heart speak to the same loss of ground that people feel in careers and elected positions in public service on all sides.

They also point to the need to pay more than just paychecks and hiring public servants. This shows the need to find more people to share the burden of elected office.