Staffing shortages within Portsmouth Police Department lead to security changes in city's schools

Portsmouth Sheriff's Office generic
Posted at 5:19 PM, Aug 31, 2021

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Students in Portsmouth Public Schools return to the classroom in one week on September 7. When they return, they may notice that the school resource officer is no longer an officer with the Portsmouth Police Department, but rather a deputy with the sheriff’s office.

In a statement from Victoria Varnedoe, the public information officer for the Portsmouth Police Department, “The Portsmouth Police Department recently restructured its organization. We have temporarily sent our School Resource Officers (SRO) to the Patrol Unit.”

Sheriff M.A. Moore says they are in pretty good shape regarding staffing.

He added, “We are glad to be able to help out in any way we can. We think it would be good for the city and the school system.”

Dr. Michael Cromartie, the chief schools officer for Portsmouth Public Schools, felt the change was rather last minute but said they are understanding of the issue.

“They are dealing with critical issues with staffing, and we are sensitive to that and we understand that. Once we got confirmation that they were not able to provide that service to us, fortunately, we were able to go to an agency that had the manpower and the willingness to help us out,” Dr. Cromartie stated.

Cromartie added that Portsmouth’s four high schools and three middle schools will have their own designated school resource officer. This is in addition to the school security officers employed by the school district.