Saturday, January 17, 2015

VA State Police Funding Falls Off a Cliff

On Friday, we heard a briefing from the Virginia State Police (VSP)  regarding the status of their budget.  The briefing left my jaw on the floor after I heard about how much they are struggling.

The Virginia State Police perform many different functions and they interact with the public in different ways in different parts of the Commonwealth.  In Northern Virginia, the provide mainly traffic enforcement, but in other parts of Virginia, the VSP conduct many high-profile and highly technical investigations.

They have divisions that investigate high technology crimes such as financial fraud, identity theft, and child pornography investigations.  They maintain Virginia's Criminal Information Network which contains criminal histories, run the vehicle inspection program, conduct background checks for concealed weapon permits, and maintain Virginia's Sex Offender Registry.

You can read the entire proposal below but here are some highlights:

  • VA's population is up 17% over 1.1 million people since 2000
  • VA's registered vehicles are up by 24$ since 2000 - 1.5 million new cars
  • VA has 770,000 more licensed drivers since 2000
  • Incidents to investigate are up from 452,000 to 700,000
  • Trooper investigation hours are up from 325,000 to 583,000
  • Drug arrests are up by 210%
  • Insurance fraud arrests are up 823%
  • Clandestine drug lab destruction is up from 1 in FY00 to 407 in 2014
  • VSP has not added a single new trooper position since FY97
  • Cost of living is way up, while VSP Trooper salaries now lag most other law enforcement salaries in localities
  • 72% of sworn Troopers leaving said it was to earn a higher salary elsewhere
  • VSP has seen budget cut by $90.3 million since FY2006
As a practicing criminal defense attorney, I see the effects of this on the front lines every day.  Trooper morale is affected, but most importantly, this is not the best way to keep Virginians safe.

1 comment:

  1. Like all budgetary matters, the Republican majority thinks they can get government on the cheap, until a crisis occurs. Then they look to blame the Governor, the weather, or anything distracting attention from their failure to properly fund government functions. Community colleges pay less than school teachers can earn, state employees have had pay cuts, not raises, when their benefits are factored into the calculation, and the state troopers are over worked and under paid. Business as usual for a Republican majority legislature.