Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove a statement attributed to Antioch Police Chief Steven Ford that the chief said was provided by an unauthorized spokesperson.

ANTIOCH, Calif. (KRON) — The Antioch Police Department is hemorrhaging officers and “dangerous” rhetoric from the city’s mayor is keeping new officers from joining APD, according to the police officers union.

The Antioch Police Officers Association issued a scathing message on Friday criticizing Mayor Lamar Thorpe.

“It cannot be said with enough emphasis that one of the major driving forces causing officers to leave our agency is the dangerous and irresponsible rhetoric coming from the mayor,” the union wrote.

“The APOA felt it was important to address several issues that our officers have been been dealing with and that you, those who live in Antioch, have likely felt the ramifications of. The issue is two fold and has been affecting our department for some time. These issues are staffing and messaging from our department,” the union wrote.

Mayor Thorpe did not immediately respond to KRON4’s request for comment.

The union also addressed a public apology issued Thursday by Antioch Police Department Lt. Michael Mellone.

Mellone apologized for slow police response times to in-progress burglaries. Specifically, Mellone said responses to burglaries at the Hillcrest Taphouse and Cocina Medina “fell short of our goals.”

Cocina Medina, a Mexican restaurant located at 5005 Lone Tree Way, posted a video on Facebook showing a front window smashed and the restaurant ransacked by thieves.

“Most of you have likely heard about the burglaries which occurred recently at Antioch businesses and the subsequent apology which was released by APD administration,” the union wrote.

APOA said a 34-year-old man, identified as Casey Beck, has been arrested in connection to multiple recent burglaries. Beck was arrested and booked at the Martinez Detention Facility.

Police officers have been leaving Antioch over the past 12 months for a multitude of reasons, including injuries, an FBI investigation into several officers accused of misconduct, and messaging from the mayor, according to the APOA.

APD’s patrol staff is currently staffed with just 30 officers, less than half the number of patrol officers in 2020, the union said.

Union leaders wrote, “The reason we are addressing this now is because of the constant misrepresentations we see about our staffing levels and recruitment efforts being put forth by Mayor Thorpe. The Mayor’s constant negative comments towards our officers since the time of Chief Brooks has caused a large amount of officers to leave. No signing bonus can make up for the damage he’s done to our department.”