Law Enforcement Shortages Come to Small-Town Virginia

by James C. Sherlock

The Town of Leesburg had a population of 49,157 as of July 1, 2021. Its police force has an authorized strength of 90 sworn officers. Twenty-one of those positions are vacant.

The Loudoun Times posted an article that headlined the town’s vaccine mandate as a potential contributor, but a close reading of the article showed that is not the case, at least not provably. Most vacancies existed before the mandate. Many  losses since the mandate were scheduled retirements. Other officers did not cite the mandate as the cause of their departures. So, maybe the mandate contributed, but not much.

What, then, are the issues?

The primary issue is that the force cannot find replacements for those leaving. There are three demonstrable reasons nationwide:

  1. Relentless articles in the legacy media demonizing cops and threatening elimination of qualified immunity have deterred citizens who previously would have aspired to become police officers;
  2. In some localities, woke politicians, including prosecutors who refuse to prosecute, are driving away officers already on the force and dissuading lateral transfers from other forces;
  3. Those who remain are overworked and leave for less stressful, safer and more honored jobs.

So it is not just big city police departments with shortages of sworn officers. Small-town America is as vulnerable as the cities.

And for the same reasons.

Defund the police indeed. Demoralize them is the path of the woke. It is working.

We all reap the whirlwind.


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53 responses to “Law Enforcement Shortages Come to Small-Town Virginia”

  1. Good point: Who needs to defund the police if you can demoralize them to the point that no one wants to be a policeman anymore?

    1. VaNavVet Avatar

      Clearly, there are many reasons why someone would decide to leave law enforcement or would decide not to enter that profession. These are personal decisions and it is perhaps best not to generalize.

      1. Donald Smith Avatar
        Donald Smith

        I encourage you to go with that. (Better yet, do it under your real name.)

        Here’s a thought: we will continue to point out the demoralization of urban police forces by progressive activists, and the alarming increase in crime in cities, and post that there is undoubtedly a correlation. You can then go to the general public and say that they shouldn’t listen to us, until we can provide proof that satisfies you. Knock yourself out.

        1. There clearly could be a correlation for some folks but just as clearly not for all. I don’t believe that national statistics are available. There are many documented factors that are contributing to a rise in crime with some types of crimes actually not rising.

      2. Matt Adams Avatar

        “These are personal decisions and it is perhaps best not to generalize.”

        Perhaps you could take your own advice, given the plethora of generalized statements you’ve made about entities you don’t agree with.

  2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    “The primary issue is that the force cannot find replacements for those leaving. There are three demonstrable reasons:”

    You did not demonstrate this to be true.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Each of the reasons is a matter of public record.

      – The legacy media demonstrably demonizes cops as a class based upon the actions of a few. If you doubt that, I don’t know how to help;
      – Prosecutors run and win in some jurisdictions on platforms of refusing to prosecute. You apparently doubt it. They are proud of it. You can start with Fairfax Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano or his Loudoun counterpart Buta Biberaj. They can bring you up to speed. They will tell you there is no such thing as evil in the world, only misunderstood offenders;
      – The remaining cops in short staffed departments really are overworked and many leave for less stressful, safer and more honored jobs. How to explain this. Not enough cops, too much work, increasingly physically attacked. How is that.

      You really should get out more. And eliminate the words “half a” from your pseudonym.

    2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Check with Nancy’s statement below for validation of my reasons.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        None of your so-called validations are valid or relevant to Leesburg, VA

        1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
          James C. Sherlock

          OK, go with that.

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Ok, so show me the Loudoun Times Mirror article that demonized Leesburg cops. I’ll save you time. There aren’t any. Just because you say something is true certainly does not make it so…

          2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
            James C. Sherlock

            As I said, go with that.

            Pretend that Leesburg is a colony in outer space and sees no other media than the Loudoun TM, that cop shortages don’t cause extra work and stress for those left and that Buta Biberaj is not Commonwealth’s Attorney in Loudoun.

            Have a nice day.

          3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Well, if bad press ANYWHERE is the decider, you guys must be taking out a lot of teachers these days.

            I never knew cops were so insecure… actually now that you point it out…

    3. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      1. Can’t just shoot black people,
      2. Body cameras that record their bad behavior,
      3. Proud Boys pay better.

      1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
        James C. Sherlock

        So if Virginia started a program in which folks could provide a witnessed “do not respond” statement to their 911 service, you would be among the first to sign.

        After all, it would be just another version of “do not resuscitate” for folks who hate cops.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Well, if’n your concerned the hospital mightn’t honor your DNR, have ’em call me if they have questions.

        2. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Actually, Boss, let me give you a serious answer.

          There is no Law Enforcement “DNR” because there is no obligation to R. It’s really a SCOTUS decision. The police have no obligation to “protect” in that “protect & serve” sticker on their cars. They are not even an “enforcement” force. Their job is to investigate, gather evidence and apprehend, and not to stop any active crime.

          Nobody pays for police protection in the US of A. It ain’t in the deal.

          There are places in rural areas mostly, for example, where the fire department will show up to watch your house burn to the ground just to make sure your neighbor’s house doesn’t catch fire because he paid the voluntary service fee for fire protection and you didn’t.

          As for my poor joke earlier. As your attorney in fact, I will doggedly work to enforce your medical directives. I once told my boss, in a discussion on final wishes, I would happily stand on his air hose if all else fails. I’m a serious “Right to Die” supporter. Liberal, remember.

          1. There are places in rural areas mostly, for example, where the fire department will show up to watch your house burn to the ground just to make sure your neighbor’s house doesn’t catch fire because he paid the voluntary service fee for fire protection and you didn’t.

            Name one, or please stop denigrating volunteer firefighters.

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2010/10/08/130436382/they-didn-t-pay-the-fee-firefighters-watch-tennessee-family-s-house-burn

            That’s one. There have been others. It’s sad, but there are, mostly volunteer, FDs where their support is strictly voluntary. And in those areas, it may be they are precluded from saving property. Obviously, they would still rush in to save lives, but don’t pay the fee, and your property is at risk.

            The first time I read or heard a story was in the 90s. There are many communities where FDs are fee based’, not tax based.

          3. Thanks. I had no idea there were such insensitive jackasses running fire departments in this country.

            The volunteer firefighters I have known would do everything in their power to save their worst enemy’s house.

          4. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            They’re not necessarily insensitive. The story from 1995 or so was in Texas. They cannot fight a fire because of their insurance. They would not be covered and risk losing their policy.

          5. Really? That makes no sense. I am glad we do not operate that way in Virginia.

          6. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            I think it used to be in the code, repealed 1970. But, localities can still contract for fire services, but the code demands they actually extinguish fires.

          7. Matt Adams Avatar

            “The volunteer firefighters I have known would do everything in their power to save their worst enemy’s house.”

            The cited example reference an instance where an unincorporated area doesn’t have a volunteer or full time service. When asked if they want to have their taxes raised to pay for this they say no. So the incorporated area FD offers a subscription typically $50 a month to provide a service. Most times they will bill afterwards but the fee is going to be high.

          8. “Nobody pays for police protection in the US of A. It ain’t in the deal.” Aren’t local police used as body guards to protect elected officials like the mayors of Chicago? NYC?, as well as Govs? Not to mention Secret Service?

          9. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Bear Bryant. But YOU don’t count. Get it?

    4. Donald Smith Avatar
      Donald Smith

      Have you considered the possibility that we just don’t care if you think it’s true or not? You’re not even a complete troll.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        Have you considered the possibility that I don’t care if you care…??

        1. Donald Smith Avatar
          Donald Smith

          Whatever fulfills you, man (?) Any time you feel brave enough to use your real name, or aspire to full troll status, you go for it! Even better—you can stop ankle-biting in the comments and write for the front page.

  3. DJRippert Avatar

    McAuliffe took some heat for refusing to reject an endorsement of The New Virginia Majority – an organization that, among other things, calls for defunding he police. McAuliffe did say he doesn’t support defunding the police but accepted The New Virginia Majority’s endorsement.

    The way to restore confidence and morale to police departments is to make any group advocating for defunding the police a third rail in politics.

    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/virginia-mcauliffe-endorsement-group-supports-defunding-police

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    My local Mexican restaurant can’t find sevice people either. This can be attributed to 3 reasons;
    1. relentless news articles demoralizing illegal immigrants.
    2. woke border patrol who aren’t sleeping in their SUVs
    3. many leaving for less violence and more pay in Mexico.

    1. #3 is, as they say, demonstrably false, given that Mexico’s murder rate is almost 6 times that of the United States.

      1. John Harvie Avatar
        John Harvie

        Yep. And his/her other two are way off topic.

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Now do teachers…

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        No way! To political for me to wade in those waters!

    3. PS – Illegal immigrants should be demoralized and discouraged from remaining in this country.

  5. DJRippert Avatar

    The left is reaping what they sow with regard to their calls to “defund the police”. Now, like CRT, they are denying that they ever called for defunding. However, even the left sees its problem with this half-assed idea. Lee Carter (D-Manassas), a proponent of defunding the police, lost his primary and will be leaving the House in January.

    https://therepublicanstandard.substack.com/p/democrats-file-bill-to-defund-virginia

    1. That is excellent news.

  6. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    You imply that the three “demonstrable reasons” were those cited by the Leesburg police chief or other town officials. Anyone reading that article can see that is not the case. Those three reasons are your personal assumptions, and no more.

    Of those 21 vacancies, 5 were approved but not funded during a recent hiring freeze and 2 are unbudgeted positions. Therefore, one-third of those vacancies have never been filled. Those positions are vacant because someone left due to poor morale or any other reason.

    One plausible reason for the problem in filling public safety jobs, and one that conservatives on this blog never seem to consider, is the economy. There are plenty of jobs available and employers are offering higher salaries and bonuses to attract employees. And, no, as some would say, folks are not sitting out and counting their unemployment pay. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits last week hit a 52-year low.

    Police work is relatively low paid and can be dangerous. People are finding work at comparable or higher pay without the danger associated with police work. Whenever the job market is favorable to workers, public safety agencies have difficulty in recruiting and retaining personnel.

    1. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Would you let a kid of yours become a cop today? If so, what would you tell him?

    2. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      For the record, Leesburg Police base salaries, not including overtime and benefits, range from $56,124 for less than one year experience to $91,722 for more than 10 years.

      1. Donald Smith Avatar
        Donald Smith

        Jim, let the Democrats and progressives lie in the bed they made. They no longer get the benefit of the doubt from Americans who favor law and order. We’ve all seen too much. Let them convince voters otherwise.

      2. Matt Adams Avatar

        Which is sad considering the median house price is ~$434,000 and the median income is ~$114,000.

    3. James C. Sherlock Avatar
      James C. Sherlock

      Which of my three reasons do you find false from a nationwide or regional perspective, Dick? The legacy media (See the Washington Post); the Commonwealth’s Attorneys (see Buta Biberaj in Loudoun); or the overworking of the remaining cops in the short-staffed departments (like Leesburg). Let’s have that discussion.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        The stories I see in the “legacy media” are about cops who have used excessive force or otherwise abused their positions of trust. I see stories about people being released from prison after serving 20-30 years for a crime they did not commit and whose convictions often resulted from shoddy police work or even planted or made-up evidence.

        As for Buta Biberaji, I can’t comment on her because I do not know what she did or did not do that has you so upset.

        As for those cops remaining in short-staff offices being overworked, of course that is a problem,

        But you took one example and, without basing your claims on anything someone in Leesburg said or the cops themselves said, attributed your assumptions to the situation.

        And, again, you ignore my alternative theory about the good job market having an effect on the ability of police departments to fill vacancies.

        1. Donald Smith Avatar
          Donald Smith

          There is a growing perception in America, especially among productive adults, that modern-day Republicans are much likely to support cops and law-and-order than Democrats are. That’s a perception problem for your side, not mine. Good luck convincing urban residents that Democrats really are on the side of law-and-order. Your side made its bed…

        2. Virginia Project Avatar
          Virginia Project

          If you don’t know about Biberaj’s abuses you really shouldn’t be commenting on this subject. It’s only been in national news multiple times.

    4. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Two words: McFarland, California.

      Every PD risks becoming McFarland.

      1. Only if they hire a misfit rogue cop as their police chief.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Funny story. It’s true, and I swear by my tattoo.
          In 1991, I took a business trip with a colleague to Denver. After checking into our hotel, we decide to get a cheap high and dinner by heading uphill until we hit 9000 feet and stop at the first restaurant. It was the “Red Rooster” up Buzzard’s Pass, and ours was the only car in a crowded parking lot of motorcycles — largely Harleys.

          When we walked in the bar was crowded with bikers drinking beer and watching Oprah. We took a booth, ordered beer and a pizza, and quickly got looped on half of the beer — altitude works wonders. The conversation at the bar turned to the sheriff in a neighboring county.

          “He’s a good man. Helped me get a lawyer and beat a trumped up assault charge.”

          “Yep. He’ll give you every break he can. He’s quick to help, but don’t call him if it involves gunplay. He don’t like gunplay and he won’t show up.”

          1. Good story.

            You could have gotten an even cheaper high if you had donated a pint of blood before visiting the “Red Rooster”.

            While I was in college, whenever there was a campus blood drive, one of my buddies and I would donate blood at the Student Center and then visit “Mr. Fooz” for $1.65 large pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Talk about a cheap high.

          2. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Cost effective buzz. Now, add in a 12-hr fast, and whoohoo!

  7. John Martin Avatar
    John Martin

    stop using guns and start using brains

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