Legislative leaders say Virginia State Police pay a priority

Virginia State Police generic

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Legislative leaders from both parties say increasing salaries and reducing staffing shortages among Virginia State Police will be a priority in the upcoming legislative session despite the state’s budget shortfall.

The state is facing an estimated $1.5 billion shortfall due to lower-than-expected income and sales tax collections, which prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe over the summer to scrap planned raises for state employees. The head of the State Police says since that time, departures have escalated, leaving the agency with a severe manpower shortage.

Sen. William Stanley, a Republican from Franklin County, and Senate Minority Leader Richard Saslaw, a Democrat from Fairfax County, both said Thursday that the low pay and staffing shortages were a major issue.

The two spoke at a forum on legislative issues in Richmond.