Lynchburg Police Department dealing with officer shortage

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) It's a problem facing police departments across the country.

Lynchburg PD is no exception.

"We had 28 officers last year in 2016 leave the Lynchburg Police Department," says Sergeant Gary Fink.

The shortage makes it hard for officers to do their jobs.

"Sometimes have to move people around. We have our criminal detectives sometimes get temporarily assigned to the field to fill the vacancies," according to Sgt. Fink.

It can also increase response time.

"When an officer leaves, you're losing experience. Losing that, it does delay our response," says Sgt. Fink.

The main causes for the decline in employment include retirement, new employment and difficulty recruiting applicants.

But it's not for a lack of trying.

LPD is also teaming up with local schools like Liberty and Central Virginia Community College to train students to one day join the police force.

"The top students who graduate from our 2 year program are considered. They're not automatically accepted, they're considered for this other program. This career studies certificate, says Dr. James Lemon, CVCC Dean of Business and Allied Health. "This way when they recruit one of our graduates from this program, they've already completed it. They are certified law enforcement that day and are ready immediately that day to go to work."