Virginia Att. Gen. Miyares addresses law enforcement shortages in Roanoke, Lynchburg

Roanoke police has a 20% vacancy rate, and Lynchburg has a 13% vacancy rate according to his office

Virginia’s top prosecutor is sounding the alarm on the state of law enforcement.

Attorney General Jason Miyares said local departments all across the state are dealing with staffing shortages and that needs to be fixed.

“When I go to work in the morning, I put on a coat and tie,” Attorney General Jason Miyares said. “For those in law enforcement when they go to work in the morning they have to put on a bulletproof vest. There’s not a job like that in America.”

Showing appreciation is the first step to solving the shortage, according to Miyares.

“I think you have about a 20% vacancy rate in the city of Roanoke,” Miyares said. “I think that hurts our ability to do good policing and good relations. I’m a big believer in community policing.”

According to the Attorney General’s Office, Roanoke police is down 55 officers. Numbers from his office also show Lynchburg is down 23, and that’s a 13% vacancy rate. Meanwhile, Miyares said he’s fighting for pay increases for police and trying to repeal current laws that make policing difficult.

“An officer can be at a traffic stop, see two teenagers drinking a beer behind the wheel of a car, they have probable cause to stop,” Miyares said. “But if they’re at that same traffic stop, and they’re smoking marijuana and he can smell it, they have the windows open, he has no probable cause to stop a teenager from driving while high. That’s unfortunately some of these rules that have really handcuffed our officers.”

Miyares said he has a couple of initiatives in the works, including Operation Ceasefire in an effort to curb gun violence and the Bold Blue Line initiative to get departments fully staffed.

“The Bold Blue Line initiative launched by the Governor with our support to recruit officers and get them back in,” Miyares said. “Officers right now they’re overworked, they’re overstressed, and they don’t feel like they’ve got enough gratitude or thanks from our community.”

10 News reached out to Roanoke and Lynchburg police, but they were not available for on-camera interviews Monday afternoon.

You can apply for positions with Roanoke Police online or by contacting recruit@roanokeva.gov. You can also apply for Lynchburg police job opportunities here.


About the Author:

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.