Chesterfield budget proposal a ‘good start’ to fix police recruitment

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Chesterfield County has officially proposed its budget for the 2018 fiscal year.

Public safety and education are top priorities and now, we have a closer look at the numbers.

The focus of this budget is on recruiting more officers to fill the vacancies the police department currently has.

This proposed budget includes $560,000 for starting pay, career development, and part-time staffing.

But some say there’s only so much that money can do to help.

“Pay is certainly an issue — starting pay — if you want to be a law enforcement officer period,” Kevin Carroll said.

Kevin Carroll is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Virginia. He said the struggle for recruitment is not specific to Chesterfield.

“There’s been a downtrend across the country in the last few years of people actually applying to be a law enforcement officer,” Carroll said.

In this newly proposed budget, starting pay for officers would increase by $700.

FY2018 is also the first year of a five-year plan to increase the pay separation between ranks.

Carroll said this is a good start.

“It may help with some of the retention issues that we have up front,” Carroll said. “But we really need to continue to look at long-term solutions to benefit the officers that are here, to encourage them to want to stay.”

Carroll said the biggest way to change the recruitment problem is to change how our community views police officers.

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