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Norfolk Police hiring retired officers to address staffing shortages

Norfolk Police
Norfolk Assistant Chief of Police Daryl Howard and News 3's Leondra Head
Posted at 12:41 PM, Aug 09, 2022

NORFOLK, Va. — The City of Norfolk is combating police department shortages with a plan to hire retired officers.

"What we’re going to end up doing is reaching out to people who have retired within the last five years to say, ‘hey, we’ve got this opportunity where you can come back and work for us,’" Norfolk’s Assistant Chief of Police Daryl Howard said.

This will allow full-time officers to hit the streets.

"Not only would it be for positions inside an office, maybe behind a desk, but we’re also going to be looking to get some help for our officers on the street as well," Howard said.

The department plans to bring on as many officers as they can. But this isn't the first time Norfolk has brought in retired officers.

"That was kind of started a few years ago where we did it at a much smaller scale than we’re looking at right now. It was a situation where we were providing assistance to our specialized units," Howard said. "Right now, we’re about 263 officers short. That’s the most we’ve had."

City council approved Norfolk Interim Police Chief Mike Goldsmith's request to allow former police officers to perform duties.

"In reference to being able to hire back retired officers to fill these positions on a part-time basis. That will take a tremendous load off of us. We are very appreciative," Goldsmith said to City Council during July 19th's work session.

Howard said the police department has seen a trend in the last two years of officers retiring or leaving for other jobs.

"What we have seen also is there are a number that are completely leaving the profession. I think that’s just a sign of the times and the climate over policing over the last several years," Howard said.

"Are any of those vacancies impacting police response times?" News 3 Reporter Leondra Head asked Howard.

"It would be foolish of me to say no. Even when you’re fully staffed. There are things that can impact response times. You will see more people in marked units riding in neighborhoods and so forth than you did in the past, because we have moved people from other units that traditionally were in an office," Howard said.

Norfolk’s homicides are down this year compared to this time in August of 2021, but the city has seen an uptick in car thefts. Since July 1, more than 200 cars have been stolen in the city of Norfolk. Police are urging drivers to lock their cars and secure their keys.

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