Roanoke Police operating with more than 50 vacancies in staffing

Officials said they are missing a ‘fifth or a quarter’ of the agency

Roanoke Police are facing two challenges tonight: curbing the recent uptick in crime and finding officers who can respond and investigate.

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke City Police are facing two challenges: curbing the recent crime and finding officers to respond to it and investigate it.

“Right now, we’re somewhere around 50 or maybe a little over 50 vacancies, which is about a quarter of our agency or a fifth of our agency,” admitted Deputy Academy Director Sgt. Ben Masters. “190 can’t do what 260 can do.”

In reality, Masters says the city needs more than 260 officers. However, they are running into major problems trying to fulfill those positions.

“Police Department staffing is a challenge nationally, so what we are experiencing locally is not different than what is occurring nationally. We are actively working to improve the staffing level in the Police Department,” said Roanoke Deputy City Manager Sherman Stovall in a statement to WSLS 10 News.

The department is temporarily reassigning people to keep up with service.

“Investigative units and things that we like to staff, they’re getting pulled to go back to patrol because we have vacancies in patrol,” said Masters. “Everyone is pulling more than their fair share of work as it is.”

“Our efforts include an enhanced recruiting program developed by our Department of Human Resources and representatives from the Roanoke Police Department. It also includes a recommended step plan for compensation, which is targeted at improving compensation. Improving the staffing level is a challenge, and is anticipated to take time to address,” said Stovall.


About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.