According to the latest report, the Greensboro Police Department (GPD) is currently operating at about 80 percent of its authorized staffing level.
The GPD is authorized for 689 sworn officers and is currently 129 officers short of that mark, which corresponds to an 18.7 percent vacancy rate.
The numbers provided by the GPD hedge that number because the GPD counts 29 people who are “not fully trained and assigned.” This includes cadets in the Police Academy, lateral transfers who have not been trained, and pre-hires. Counting pre-hires is something of a stretch. These are people who have been accepted for the next police academy class. So, they may attend the next class and not complete it. They may get a better offer from some other law enforcement agency and never show up for the first session, or they may decide that law enforcement is not the career path they want and accept a job in some other field.
The most important point is that the vacancy rate in the GPD continues to grow and it most likely will grow at a faster rate this year because of retirements. In August 2022, the GPD listed 100 vacancies in active duty sworn police officers.
So, in six months the number of vacancies has grown to 129.
The numbers are likely to get worse because in the early 1990s the federal government had a program that paid the salaries for new police officers for two years. As a result, the GPD and other law enforcement agencies hired more new officers than usual. And since that was 30 years ago, those officers hired through the federal program are now eligible for retirement.
For the GPD to maintain its current level of staffing from each Police Academy class, the GPD needs to put 30 trained officers out on the street. Realistically each class needs to start with over 30 cadets, but the most recent classes have not reached 20 cadets.
Only 13 officers graduated from the Police Academy in August 2022. The class started with 18, which is nowhere near the 30 the GPD needed just to stay even.