LYNCHBURG, VA — One of the most popular events for Lynchburg teenagers is March Madness.
The 4-on-4 basketball event, happening every Friday night this month will see fewer officers.
“You may see maybe an officer one or two less at these events. But we’re still going to be attending these events. We’re still going to be participating,” Capt. Nick Leger said.
The department is facing a staff shortage. The Lynchburg Police Department said they are budgeted for 174 officers.
Right now, operationally they have 30 less officers than they’d like. That’s because many are leaving for the federal level, other local agencies, and /or retiring.
“It’s become I think an increasing challenge to recruit and retain qualified folks. But we’ve been doing a lot of things, like we’ve recently enacted a contract of three years for new hires. We’ve done things like longevity pay increases to try and retain officers. Things like clothing allowances. Boot allowance. Modest things, but things we can do to help make Lynchburg more attractive for officers,” Leger said.
Until the positions are filled, officers in the Community Action Team and traffic unit are being moved to patrol.
“Those units are still functioning, and we’re not taking them out for the whole week. It’s just a supplemental effort. Same thing like last year, we did the same things with some of our detectives. We pulled some of our detectives to temporarily work patrol,” Leger said.
Lynchburg police said they want citizens to know they will continue to do their best with what they have, while ensuring safety and developing community relations.