HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – Local police departments are hiring. Virginia Beach has more than 90 vacancies and Chesapeake reports more than 30.
“A lot more shortages than we’ve had in the past,” said Officer Dupree Foster, a recruiter with the Chesapeake Police Department. “You have a lot going on: the national climate with law enforcement.”
Officer Foster said ten new recruits just started last week, and despite the COVID pandemic and recent unrest, the recruits they are getting are motivated.
“One of the benefits of what is going on is we’re getting a lot of people who are the ones who actually want to do this job. They’ve wanted to do it for a long time, so it’s something they’re really stepping up in and following through with at this point,” Foster explained.
Meanwhile in Virginia Beach, Chief Paul Neudigate, who took over in October, reports there have been 33 retirements since he started.
“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to struggle unless we come up with some revolutionary strategies to make Virginia Beach stand out from all the other big cities that are competing for the same finite pool of candidates,” Chief Neudigate stated during a recent City Council meeting.
Chief Neudigate added that they are looking at changing shifts to help cover the busiest times which are evenings and weekends. He also said they're requiring mandatory overtime.
In Chesapeake, Officer Foster said, “One of the major challenges is people will see what’s going on in the community and talk with their friends and family who may persuade them from not doing law enforcement because of the negativity around it.”
He said personalizing the experience is key. “So, it’s really connecting with them and letting them know this is a career you can really make a difference in, and actually step up and serve people is one of the greatest things you can do.”
Foster said applicants must be 21-years-old or older to apply. He added that they value the experience of military members and are a certified employer with Virginia Values Veterans.