Alexandria police are making changes in the way they deliver service to the community as law enforcement agencies across the country are losing a record number of officers to retirement while fewer people want to become cops.
Alexandria Police Chief Don Hayes said in a video released Thursday that he wants officers to focus investigations on serious incidents and concerns plus maintain work-life balance.
“We’ve identified areas for improvement that we will be addressing moving forward,” said in a video released Thursday.
According to the video, those areas for improvement include:
- “Identifying non-emergency calls which may be served by a partner agency with the city.”
- “Identifying non-emergency calls that do not require an in-person response.”
- “Providing increased online support and phone reporting, in partnership with our Department of Emergency Communications (DECC).”
“We’re not saying don’t call us; we’re not saying we’re not going to respond,” Alexandria police spokesman Marcel Bassett said. “What we’re saying is it’s a modification of services. We’re going to decide does an officer really need to be present.”
The Alexandria Police Department is facing a decline in manpower, he said.
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That means the public will have to get used to doing some things differently.
There will be certain situations where law enforcement response will take place by phone or online.
“When we think about credit card fraud, while we understand that it’s very enduring, and you feel violated, and we really empathize with that, we also understand an officer being on scene doesn’t change the information we receive about the case,” Bassett said.
Hayes said the modifications will be reviewed going forward.
A 2021 study by the Police Executive Research Forum found the almost 200 law enforcement agencies surveyed saw a 45% increase in their retirement rate over the year before coupled with an 18% increase in resignations.
Police chiefs across the U.S. report challenges in hiring recruits.
The answer, for some, is to focus manpower on addressing violent crime and figure out a new way to handle the rest. Arlington police recently announced service changes for the same reason.
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