RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) — Virginia State Police say they are down 195 troopers and need to fill the vacancies immediately to keep the Commonwealth safe.
Police say being down nearly 200 officers makes the roads dangerous, not only for the troopers who are working by themselves because of the shortage, but also for the civilians driving interstates.
“Without proper number of troopers on the road, citizens don’t get protection they deserve,” State Police First Sergeant James L. White said.
First Sergeant White manages recruitment at State Police headquarters.
He says there are several reasons for the current trooper shortage.
“Most people are employed in the current economy, jobs are plentiful and many of our officers are retiring,” he said.
As an added incentive, State Police have made changes to the academy.
Incoming troopers now make a “dream sheet,” or a list of areas in the Commonwealth they’d be willing to work.
This is a new change. In the past, incoming recruits would be notified of their assignment a few weeks before they graduated from academy.
Now, their ranked list of preferred locations will be taken into consideration.
First Sergeant White says the ideal candidate is dedicated to protecting and making a difference in the community.
“We are a para-military organization. We run with structure and discipline,” White said. “So veterans and former military are welcome.”
First Sergeant White would know, as he retired from the military before working for Virginia State Police.
Starting pay is $44,290 and police say there is room for promotion, with roles in tactical units, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and more.
“If you’ve ever had a dream of working in law enforcement, this is the time to do it,” First Sergeant White said.
Interested applicants can call 804-674-6735 or visit the new State Police recruitment website, www.vsp.virginia.gov.