Even what appears to be good news for the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) may not be.
Last week, 18 new police officers graduated from the Greensboro Police Academy. Adding 18 new police officers to the ranks sounds like good news, but when looking at the big picture, it isn’t.
The GPD loses on average 60 officers a year, mostly due to retirement, but also from officers transferring to different agencies, officers who decide to go into another field, sickness, injuries and death.
The Greensboro Police Academy holds two classes a year. So with the GPD losing 60 officers a year, to stay even, each police academy class has to put 30 new officers out on the street. Once they graduate from the academy, the officers go through 12 weeks of field training and usually a couple of police academy graduates don’t make it through field training. From 18 Police Academy graduates the GPD can usually expect to put 15 or 16 officers out on patrol in about three months. The end result is that the number of vacancies in the GPD will increase during the year by somewhere around 15.
So despite the fact that having 18 new graduates of the Greensboro Police Academy is good news, it’s also not such good news.
When he was Greensboro police chief, Brian James told the City Council that to start making progress on the large number of vacancies in the department and what was needed were Police Academy classes consistently in the 40s, and even at that rate it would take years to fill the gap.
The current number of vacancies for sworn officers in the GPD is hard to follow because the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget, which went into effect on July 1, eliminated 40 sworn officer positions from the GPD. In the blink of an ey,e the GPD went from 130 vacancies to 90 without hiring one additional officer. But whatever the current number of vacancies is, with 18 graduates in the latest Greensboro Police Academy class, that number of vacancies is due to rise.