NEW KENT (WRIC) – New Kent
County has a population of 20,000, but only 16 full-time patrol officers on the
The New Kent Sheriff's
Office is the primary law enforcement for 221 square miles. But they, along
with 48 other sheriff's departments in the state are under-staffed.
"When you get more calls
than you have officers working, the communications center has to determine
which call is more important," says Sheriff F.W. Howard Jr. "Policy dictates
that we send two deputies, but sometimes, depending on the situation, it may be
only one's available and we don't like to do that because it's an officer
The governor is trying to
fix that with $3 million promised over the next two years to hire 62 law
enforcement deputies in areas where they're most needed.
John Jones with the Virginia
Sheriff's Association says financial woes have put strains on many law
enforcement offices, but hopes the investment in public safety continues.
have been cuts in localities, there have been cuts in sheriff's offices and this
is beginning to turn around a little bit," he says.