Lynchburg Police Department raises salary to combat shortage issues

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — If you’re a movie buff, you probably remember the famous Rod Tidwell line in Jerry Maguire “Show me the money!” as he yells to his agent for a new football contract.

The Lynchburg Police Department (LPD) did that on Friday, Dec. 10.

The department announced starting salaries for officers in the area will now be $50,000. This makes it the highest starting salary in the area, leading Roanoke County, Roanoke City, Salem, and Christiansburg by almost $8,000.

The announcement comes as police staffing issues have continued around the country, hampering many police departments from fully doing their job.

Chief of Police Ryan Zuidema of the LPD says police departments everywhere have a problem getting qualified applicants to join the force.

“There’s just not enough people wanting to get into this line of work, and we could talk for hours on that,” said Zuidema.

The crime rate is rising in Lynchburg and the police department has 28 open jobs with four officers entering the police academy. That’s not enough.

Zuidema says the higher salaries should change that.

“I do believe that salary makes us the absolute leader in this region and will hopefully not just attract new officers, but my hope is that their are certified officers around the state that will look at Lynchburg,” said Zuidema.

Former Mayor Treney Tweedy and now City Council member says this is good for the community.

“We support public safety whether it’s first responders, police, fire, and everyone has to respond in tragic situations,” said Tweedy.

Tweedy hopes the investment in the police force will have a positive impact on the community.

“We have to look at the full comprehensive package of what’s going on in our community,” said Tweedy.

She also hopes Lynchburg will invest more money into programs that can potentially help lower the crime rate.

“We have to invest in programs of education, recreation, of opportunity. Economic development plays a great factor when folks feel like they are in silos in the community,” said Tweedy.

The increase in salary will take effect on Jan. 5, 2022 for officers who are already on the force.

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