Arlington proposes adding $3M to budget to retain, attract police

Arlington County, Virginia, is losing a lot of its police officers, mostly to the stress of the job. Now there’s a proposal to try and keep them, and attract more candidates.

Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz said more officers have left or are planning to leave in 2021 than all of 2019 and 2020 combined. He proposes the county set aside $3 million in the 2023 budget to retain officers or attract new ones.

“To date this calendar year, 46 officers have announced their intent to leave the force, have left or retired,” said Schwartz. “Please don’t leave — we need you.”

Arlington County could have about 280 officers by the end of the year, down from a high of 325 a few years ago.

Schwartz said officers are stressed.

“Our police officers have made it clear that the demands and stress are really weighing heavily on them,” Schwartz added. “The situation is really critical.”

The money also would be used to retain community health staff, which has lost about 30% of its workers each of the last three years.

Schwartz acknowledged that many officers are leaving for better-paying positions in the private sector, including Amazon’s new Northern Virginia headquarters.

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Kyle Cooper

Weekend and fill-in anchor Kyle Cooper has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years, Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP, Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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