Long Blue Wave
Actually, the story is not quite what it seems and is great case study of demography and policy. Looks to me like a long wave cycle.
There probably is an impending wave, or at least mini-wave of retirements. Is it because of some vast unhappiness or other current issue in the police force? Maybe not. Some or most of this should be an expected result of some decisions now seemingly long ago. In 1993, facing impending financial crisis, the Masloff adminsitration offered the police force an earily retirement option. That, coupled with the fact that the force at the time was disproportionally near retirement eligibiligy because there had not been much hiring in a long time within the force, both factors contributed to a large number of retirements at the time. The force then had to hire a lot of younger folks to make up for the personnel loss. It was a big problem at the time as much of the subsequent years the police force was made up of very junior folks without the senior leadership it had been used to.
So now, we are coming up on precisely 20 years since the hiring that happened back then. Not really a surprise that some or many of that cohort will retire when first eligible. As the story highlights, lots of options for police officers to make better wages elsewhere so there is plenty of incentive to leave even without retirement vesting. With it, the reasons to stay drop a lot.
So I like the story looking to current retirement data from the city to try and back up the story. The first pass said the retirements from 2010 don't show any surge with only 15 total retirements. I believe that, but the point is that in this case there is strong reason for future trends to be nonlinear in their trend. The story also hints at that trend saying there were 5 retirements so far this year.. if they mean the calendar year if you ratio that out?
One lesson is that you really see how policy decisions have impacts years in the future. The Masloff folks were really just trying to balance their virtually unbalanceable budget, but the costs are still being paid for the early retirement plan of 20 years ago.