Virginia State Police are heading into the holiday season with staffing levels some say are the worst in decades.
On Jan. 1, Virginia State Police will be down 249 sworn officers. The money is there to pay their salaries, but $52 million in budget cuts since 2006 have held up schools to produce new troopers.
Because of the staffing levels, many jurisdictions have no troopers on duty overnight. Many others cover wide areas with limited or no backup.
State Police Superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty said the staffing levels are putting troopers' lives at risk.
Gov. Bob McDonnell asked legislators for funding for three new trooper schools over the next two years to replenish the agency's thinning ranks. The General Assembly convenes Jan. 12.