Robert Swartzwelder says 284 Pittsburgh police officers will be eligible for retirement in October.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 is predicting mass retirements from law enforcement this fall.

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Robert Swartzwelder says 284 Pittsburgh police officers will be eligible for retirement in October. He told KDKA that many will retire, in large part, because of criticism from Mayor Bill Peduto and District Attorney Stephen Zappala on the police’s handling of the Black Lives Matter protests.

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“They are pinching the police in the middle. They are putting them in a precarious position where police officers feel that no matter what they are going to do, they’re going to be criticized by the two highest-level politicians out there, which is then going to change public opinion and force negative ramifications on the police officers. Some police officers are going to say, ‘OK, you don’t want us? We’ll go and do something else.'”

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Mayor Peduto has already put a freeze on police hiring and plans to hire social workers to fulfill some duties.