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Lynchburg Police Chief: Larger budget needed to hire 26 more officers

Chief says they need more officers to match Lynchburg's growing population

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Lynchburg’s top cop needs more money from city council to bring in 26 more officers.

On Tuesday, police chief Ryan Zuidema told council members the $18 million budget is not enough to meet the community’s needs.

The department just finished its yearlong assessment and found they will need to add five officers over the next five years to balance out Lynchburg’s growing population.

Zuidema also wants to hire 16.5 non-sworn in positions too.

“So, we think those officers are necessary. They have been necessary for quite some time, honestly. This is something we’ve been trying to add for many, many years. We’ve gotten to the point now where we can’t keep up with the workload and provide the level of service our community expects,” Zuidema said.

There’s still a nationwide call for police reform and Zuidema said to create the kind of change that local groups are asking for, the department will need more money.

“A lot of the requests from our community that we’re getting from the community revolve around greater accountability, greater transparency and better training. And all those things cost money. We can’t do that with the current budget we have right now. So, if we want to meet the expectations of our community, we need additional funding to do that,” Zuidema said.

Zuidema said he doesn’t have a price on how much it will cost to hire more officers.

If you’d like to read the assessment, click here.