Ahead of National Police Weekend, the community came together waving flags and holding signs and pictures of officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, WGGB-TV reported.
“Since the incident with George Floyd and all the other issues that have gone on with police, it just seems like we’ve been demonized that all cops are bad,” said Maura Schiavina, sister of fallen police officer Michael Schiavina, who was killed during a traffic stop in 1985, told the station.
Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood told the station that anti-police sentiment is impacting the department’s staffing and hopes that community support will help officers with morale.
“They have to start backing the good cops because I’m losing them,” Clapprood said. “They’re resigning and retiring at a rate that I’ve never seen so I think this is important for both the cops and the community.”
Earlier this month, a new study obtained by Fox News found an alarming increase in retirements and resignations across 10 police departments in the U.S. over the past year.
The study analyzed the numbers before and after the murder of George Floyd, which prompted national and global protests that demanded police reform to the tune of “Defund the Police.”
Research from the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund analyzed active police memberships and activity from June 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and compared it to the same period a year prior.
During that period, researchers found an 18% increase in overall voluntary law enforcement departures, including a 24% increase in overall voluntary resignations and 14% increase in overall voluntary retirements.
The study looks at data from Cleveland; Pittsburgh; Austin; Las Vegas; Chicago; San Jose; Los Angeles County; Washington, D.C.; San Francisco and Miami-Dade.
The study cited riots and the Defund movement as prime motivating factors for the push.
Fox News’ Peter Aitken contributed to this report.