The Herndon Police Department faces a storyline similar to that experienced by law enforcement agencies statewide and throughout the country. Police officers are leaving and staff shortages are reaching historic highs.
This year, the police department is short 10 officers of its force of 55 sworn officers, a staffing shortage that is “significantly higher than in years past,” according to police chief Maggie DeBoard. The issue has escalated over the last two years as more officers leave for non-law enforcement-related career changes or early retirement.
“This has been due largely to the negative portrayal of our profession by the media, efforts at defunding the police, legislative efforts that have made our job more difficult and more dangerous, and the targeting of law enforcement officers,” she said.
DeBoard says that shortages have significantly hampered the police department’s ability to conductive proactive policing and take part in prevention programs.
The Fairfax County Police Department and other law enforcement agencies face similar staffing shortages. Agencies are also competing with each other to attract and retain candidates.
While the police department did not release specific compensation information, an HPD spokesperson said that Herndon’s benefits, pay and employee perks are on par with neighboring agencies.
The police department is currently conducting a pay parity study in order to ensure its compensation package is competitive and properly compensates officers when they are promoted or given additional responsibilities.
“While we typically don’t lose officers to neighboring agencies, we thrive on hiring sworn officers from other agencies who are looking for a change and are attracted to what the Herndon Police Department has to offer,” she said.
HPD has adjusted its shift configuration in order to account for limited sworn officers.
“We continue to ensure we are fully responsive, however, to emergency calls for service at all time.’ The spokesperson declined to specify how shifts are changed for safety and tactical reasons.
“Our goal is to continue to make the Herndon Police Department a desirable place to work so that we remain highly attractive to new hires due to our positive culture and caring and supportive community,” she added.
Just yesterday, the police department put out a call for applicants. The social media post touted the police department’s take-home car program, in-house dry cleaning, and the availability of a town prosecutor for traffic and misdemeanor crimes.
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