NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The Newport News Police Department is looking to fill 35 open positions.
“Fewer and fewer people possess the full range we require for police officers. Add to that, the job is less attractive today for all potential candidates,” said Chief Richard Myers.
Myers has been chief since January of 2014. He said less qualified applicants, the lack of applicants and recent national events are not helping to fill the jobs.
“This is not a local phenomenon,” he said. “We’ve been talking to our colleagues across the country. It’s pretty widespread.”
More than 400 officers work for the department.
Chief Myers said that the department is usually trying to fill 24 open positions but retirement, relocation and other job opportunities have recently taken many officers away.
The station is feeling the effects of these vacancies.
Myers said it affects growth within the department and outside for officers, because it’s hard to move people around and they encourage officers to get to know the community they work in.
“There are times a day when they’re going to call to call to call. When is there time to park that car and exit and do the proactive relational part of policing, which we think is critical. But you have to answers calls for service.”
Myers is encouraging all to apply, especially those within minority communities, to help diversify the department. He credits Dallas Police Chief David Brown with sparking a movement to get the community involved in coming up with a solution for change.
“If you want to become a part of the change, become a police officer,” said Myers.
Myers said they are working to turn some jobs into civilian and volunteer positions to help ease the burden.
The department is hiring for the fall police academy. If you are interested in applying for the Newport News Police Department, visit their website.