Virginia’s largest police department in staffing crisis: ‘We’ve never seen this level’ of a shortage

Virginia’s largest police department in Fairfax County is suffering a major staffing shortage and is offering $15,000 to new officers who are qualified to come on board as they attempt to fill nearly 200 positions, which is almost ten percent of the force.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

Police Chief Kevin Davis told “Fox & Friends” co-host Ainsley Earhardt on Saturday that the department is looking to fill 192 positions and asserted that they had never seen such a severe shortage before.

“We’ve never seen this level of a staffing shortage, but we’re fighting really hard to punch our way out of it,” he optimistically told Earhardt.

He may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel if the police academy is any indication. The latest police academy class has 40 recruits which is the largest class in years. Due, no doubt, to the hefty signing bonus.

States and cities across the nation are facing similar challenges as joining the police force is not as attractive as it used to be with leftists making it next to impossible for officers to do their jobs according to Fox News. Many times the police face not only a threat to their lives every time they answer a call, they also look down the barrel of lawsuits and possible imprisonment thanks to liberal policies that are soft on criminals and tough on police.

National Police Association spokesperson Ret. Sgt. Betsy Branter-Smith told Fox News in November that 11 cities have reported “severe” staffing shortages since anti-police rhetoric began ramping up in 2020. He warned that the problem could persist for years. It reportedly takes a minimum of nine months for someone to become a police officer. Then there is the matter of how long they will last given the current anti-police environment.

“If you’re a qualified police applicant today, and you’re entering the profession for the right reasons, you’re like an unrestricted free agent in the NFL,” Davis noted indicating recruits can basically write their own ticket these days. “You really have your choice of where to go.”

In a vicious neverending cycle, Davis also believes the massive staff shortage is driving away current police officers. Which in turn puts more pressure on those remaining, who are forced to work additional hours and mandatory overtime.

Shifting work attitudes also play into those joining the force as incoming officers tend to prioritize their personal lives differently than in the past.

“Today’s young police officer, they value their work-life balance. They value their training, their education. They value their time off with their family,” Davis explained. “So we’re working really hard to be that police department that has a lot to offer its police officers.”

He believes that the department is making gains despite the challenges by investing in young officers and providing the training and balance they need to succeed.

“We’re showing some early signs of turning the corner on this,” he commented. “We’ve got a little bit of ways in front of us. But like other police departments across the country, we’re all trying to figure out the way forward.”

“Large agencies are hit the hardest,” Amie Bowman, a criminology professor at George Mason University, told the Washington Post. “And Fairfax County was one of those really big agencies.”

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