Westmoreland County Sheriff James Albert announced that he switched from Democrat to Republican on Monday Sept. 14, following months of violent riots and attacks on law enforcement by leftists.

“It was a really difficult decision and I’ve thought long and hard about it, but I feel I stand for the ideals of the Republican Party platform more than the Democrats today,” Albert said, according to The Pittsburg Tribune-Review.

“I’ve been a lifelong Democrat, but a conservative Democrat at that,” he added. “I’m pro-life, a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, a lifetime member of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and, today, I feel my ideals are closer to the Republican Party than Democrats.”

Albert, 70, has worked for more than 40 years in both law enforcement and as a judge and was elected county sheriff in 2019. He said he changed his party affiliation after he saw news accounts showing “arson, mob rule, and attacks against law enforcement.”

“I was saddened and enraged by the murder of David Dorn, a 77-year-old African American retired police captain, who was shot by a pawn shop looter during a protest in St. Louis,” Albert said. “These outrageous, lawless acts have been met with silence, acquiescence and, in some instances, outright support from the local, state, and national leadership of the Democratic Party.”

“As a lifelong public servant and member of law enforcement, I have not left the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party has left me,” he added.

Albert’s switch came amid a wave of police retirements and resignations across the country following protesters’ calls to defund or even abolish the police.

In the New York Police Department, 272 officers have filed for retirement since George Floyd’s death, according to the New York Post. This presents a 49 percent increase compared with the 183 officers who retired last year during the same time period, the department said. 

The department also revealed in June “ongoing challenges,” including an “increase in retirements” and a “round of deep budget cuts” leading to more than 1,000 recruits being canceled.

Homicide rates in major cities in the United States have risen by double-digit percentages within the last few months. Data from more than 15 cities showed that homicide and aggravated assault increased 37 and 35 percent in June respectively.

Albert is the second sheriff who changed his party affiliation in recent weeks. Earlier this month, a Democratic sheriff in Indiana also announced he switched to Republican Party, saying he was “tired of seeing fires set in our streets. I’m tired of people defying God, our church, our police, our government, and everything we stand for.”