CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield’s Police Chief Thierry Dupuis says the county is in dire need of officers. He has taken his plea to the Board of Supervisors, which will have to approve the money for those positions.
“I’m asking for those 12 positions to make our community safer,” said Col. Dupuis Thursday afternoon in an interview with 8News reporter Claudia Rupcich.
Dupuis is asking the board of supervisors to approve funding to hire 12 new officers in the fiscal 2016 budget. It’s part of a 10-year plan he’s created. The price tag would be $1 million.
“I need additional officers to staff beats so that when people call 911, I have a police officer I can send,” he said.
Right now, the department has 41 “beats” — mapped out areas-officers are assigned to in the county.
“I’m staffing right now 38 to 39 beats per day. In order for me to staff one beat 24 hours, the calculations are six officers per one beat.”
Dupuis says he needs the 12 officers to fill those beats, have backups and add resources to the investigations team. He says it’s the only way the department can keep up with calls in the largest county in the Richmond-Metro area.
“When an officer in a beat is tied up, we don’t have any backfill. So at that point you’re in the mercy of another officer from another beat to assist with the call. So then what happens you have two beats empty, and that’s the issue,” said Dupuis.
The county administrator’s proposed budget currently has funding for only four positions, not 12.
County officials say they’ve been reaching out to community members for input, and will try to find funding that matches their needs.
Dupuis says the biggest concern is keeping up with the county’s population growth.
“Areas where we’ve had significant growth, we have the same number of officers working those areas as we had prior to that growth,” he said.
The next public hearing on the budget will be March 31.
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