ROANOKE, Va. – Police departments nationwide are struggling with staffing and now Roanoke’s top cop says they’re losing officers at an alarming rate.
Officers told 10 News it seems like a switch flipped in the last year.
“You’re being asked to do more with less,” Roanoke Police Association President Joel Patrick said.
Staffing is not a new problem, but it is growing.
“It’s no secret that we have more than a few vacancies here at the police department,” Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman said.
Officially, the department has 34 openings. However, there are 27 officers who can’t be deployed in the field right now because they’re either in the academy, training or on some sort of leave.
“How do you deliver a service when perhaps you don’t have all of the pieces in place that would facilitate the delivery thereof?” Roman said.
Roman is grappling with that now, especially as Roanoke battles increasing crime. Gun violence incidents in 2020 were up 60% from 2019.