Arlington Police to change how they deliver service due to staffing shortage

The Arlington County Police Department in Virginia will be changing the way it delivers services to the community because of a significant reduction in officers.

Police Chief Andy Penn said the department needs to fill 46 positions. They are authorized to have 376 sworn officer positions and only have 290 certified and functional officers who are able to provide solo law enforcement services. The remainder are in training.

The department said the community can expect to see the following shifts in service:

  • Reports of applicable nonemergency criminal activity that are not in progress can be reported online or by phone (703-228-4300) in lieu of an in-person officer response. All submissions to the online reporting system are reviewed by an officer and once approved, an Arlington County Police Department official report number will be issued.
  • Reduced investigative follow-up on some property crimes, particularly when the YouTube message on the service changes lacks solvability factors. “Officers will continue to respond to in-progress crimes and emergency calls for service where there is a threat to life, health or property,” Penn said.

In a YouTube message on the service changes, Penn insisted that Arlington remains a safe place to work, live and visit.

“The incredibly dedicated and professional men and women of the Arlington County Police Department strive each and every day to make a positive difference in the community,” said Penn. “While we are facing significant staffing challenges, I am confident we will get through this time period while continuing to be proactive in ensuring public safety.”

Penn said despite these adjustments, the department remains committed to:

  • Maintaining operational readiness and preparedness to respond to any public safety incident that occurs in Arlington.
  • Ensuring the orderly flow of traffic in the county while conducting transportation safety enforcement and education campaigns.
  • Engaging and building partnerships with those we serve.
  • Proactively recruiting qualified candidates to join upcoming academy classes with the ultimate goal of returning the department to full staffing as soon as possible.

The department said the staffing shortage is due to attrition, retention and officers seeking other opportunities.


Shayna Estulin

Shayna Estulin is an anchor/reporter for WTOP. She started her career in New York City as a local TV reporter and has since covered foreign affairs and national politics as a Washington correspondent. She also anchored a nightly news show for an international network.

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