UPDATE: Roanoke Rescue Mission announces course change for the Drumstick DASH due to police shortage

Drumstick Dash

UPDATE 10:42 a.m.: WFXR News has received more information from both the Rescue Mission of Roanoke and the Roanoke Police Department about Tuesday’s decision to change the course for the 2021 Drumstick DASH amid law enforcement staff shortages.

According to the Rescue Mission, the DASH has moved to Rivers Edge Park in Roanoke, with the starting line at Wiley Drive.

You can read the updated information from the Drumstick DASH website below:

These last few days have been a whirlwind of conversations with Roanoke City Traffic & Engineering – then follow ups with our Race Director, Roanoke City Police Chief Sam Roman, the Sheriff’s Department and Police Chiefs from every surrounding locality and even friends who sprang into action to get certified traffic flaggers.

On the current race course in Downtown Roanoke, we need a police officer at every traffic light and major intersection.  This requires a minimum of 13 officers and ideally 15-18 officers.

With the current staffing crisis with all Police Departments, the force is stretched so thin that they are unable to provide the level of officers needed to provide safety for the Downtown course.

The DASH must go on! 

With lots of behind the scenes work, we have identified an alternative course utilizing areas around Rivers Edge and the Greenways.  Our team is working diligently to set up this course with a level of excitement and fun that the Atlantic Union Drumstick Dash is known for.

What do we need?

We need you!  Come out, wear your best turkey costumes, bring your kids, bring your grandparents, bring your strollers and dogs.  Most of all bring a huge smile on your face knowing that you are moving your feet so others can eat.

Prayers are needed! For the Rescue Mission, the DASH, and our dedicated local police force.

Website for the 2021 Atlantic Union Bank Drumstick DASH
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The Roanoke Police Department also shared the following statement with WFXR News on Tuesday, Nov. 23 in response to the Rescue Mission’s announcement:

“It is accurate that we could not meet the minimum number of required officers and supervisors needed to safely host an event this large in our City. In an effort to keep the Drumstick DASH on its traditional course, we reached out to neighboring jurisdictions to see if they could provide the necessary personnel. While we were able to get some additional staffing from those outside agencies, unfortunately it was still not enough personnel to safely host this event in our Downtown area.

We are extremely glad that the Drumstick DASH was able to move to Rivers Edge Park and that runners will now get to experience the beautiful Greenways of Roanoke, while keeping the event as safe as possible for everyone involved.”

Caitlyn Cline, Roanoke Police Department spokesperson

Rhonda Graham, who is new to Roanoke, will be participating in the walk portion of the race this year. She says she was caught off guard by the changes as a newcomer.

“I just came up to get my shirts and I thought I was going to get a packet of the map and where I would be walking. I was informed there is no map and the route has been changed. I’m going to try to make the best of it, if I find where to start,” says Graham.

If you would like to volunteer for the Drumstick DASH, visit the Rescue Mission website to sign up.

If you would like to walk or run in the DASH, registration is still open for the in-person DASH on Thursday, Nov. 25, as well as the virtual DASH, which takes place through Tuesday, Nov. 30.


ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — With the 2021 Drumstick DASH just two days away, the Rescue Mission of Roanoke announced a new route for the race due to the lack of law enforcement officers available to cover the downtown area.

The Rescue Mission told WFXR News that the current course for the Drumstick DASH in downtown Roanoke needs a police officer at every traffic light and major intersection. As a result, the event would require at least 13 officers, but the ideal number would be 15 to 18 officers.

However, as staffing shortages impact numerous law enforcement agencies — both across Virginia and across the country — the Rescue Mission says the police force is stretched so thin they cannot provide the necessary manpower for the downtown course.

Organizers say they have identified an alternate course that uses areas around Carilion Riverside and the Greenways.

You can check out a map of the new course below:

(Photo: Courtesy Rescue Mission of Roanoke)

If you would like to volunteer for the Drumstick DASH, visit the Rescue Mission website to sign up.

If you would like to walk or run in the DASH, registration is still open for the in-person DASH on Thursday, Nov. 25, as well as the virtual DASH, which takes place through Tuesday, Nov. 30.

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