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'We cannot provide the same level of service' | Alexandria police union pleads for more pay and resources

The union has requested a 10% raise while the city council is considering a 1.5% raise.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Alexandria's police union is pleading for more resources and pay as leaders prepare to map out the city's budget.

The Alexandria Committee of Police IUPA Local 5 issued a statement Tuesday night that said vacancies are going unfilled and they need more officers and resources to do their job effectively.

The union has requested a 10% raise but the city council is considering a 1.5% raise.

"We cannot provide the same level of service that the City of Alexandria has come to know, appreciate and expect because of what’s happening in our police department and that’s why we’re reaching out to city council saying you’ve got to fix this," said Marcus Downey, an Alexandria Police officer and union vice president.

Downey said the department is dealing with major retention issues that are worse than the department has seen in years.

“We have lost year-to-date in 2021 more than 30 officers here in Alexandria," Downey said. "We have hired 11, so essentially for every one officer we hire we lose three." 

RELATED: Pay raises for Alexandria City Police could mean tax hikes for homeowners

Downey said when it comes to salary, Alexandria's starting pay ranks 23 of 24 among Northern Virginia jurisdictions. The union vice president said he also knows of a handful of officers who have plans to retire or are actively applying with another jurisdiction.

"We’re increasing the number of people that are moving to patrol because we’re getting worse and not better, so we’ll have detectives that will be working the street full time," Downey said. "The downside of that is these are detectives who can’t now focus on solving open crimes.”

Downey said the department is also pushing for more resources in addition to salary increases. Those resources include mental health experts to respond to calls with officers and body cameras.

"It’s clearly not a priority but the thing about body cams is it’s not a priority until it is," Downey said.

Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson said in regard to the letter sent by the union Tuesday evening that he imagines these issues will be a part of the city's budget conversations in the new year.

You can read the full letter here.

RELATED: Alexandria police and fire unions call out recruitment, retention issues and say better pay is the solution

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