LG Northam: Taking care of first responders should be our priority
As I travel the commonwealth, I am continually amazed by the incredible work of our public safety officers and first responders. They work long hours and put themselves in harm’s way to keep all Virginians safe. I am grateful for their sacrifice, and we must honor this sacrifice by making sure our officers and their families are taken care of.
Our deputy sheriffs are a great example. We have 123 sheriff’s offices across the state, and they receive over 2 million calls for service every year. Deputies are dispatched to about 75 percent of those calls.
Over the past few months I have traveled all over Virginia including across the Southwest to places like Bristol and Smyth, Wythe, Pulaski, Wise, Russell, Washington, and Montgomery counties. As an Army veteran and graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, I understand the sacrifices that our troopers, police, sheriffs, and other first responders make on a daily basis. And that is why I have encouraged Gov. Terry McAuliffe to make sure that he addresses pay for our law enforcement officers in his revised budget – including addressing compression issues for sheriff’s deputies and career development funding for all constitutional officers. This is one of the highest core priorities of government and is an important step to take in supporting those who keep us safe.