As of Jan. 1, Virginia State Police will be down 249 sworn officers. State police superintendent Col. Steven Flaherty says the money is there to pay their salaries, but $52 million in budget cuts since 2006 held up schools to produce new troopers.
Flaherty says the officer shortage means many rural districts don't have any state troopers patrolling overnight -- and troopers in many others cover wide areas without backup.
"When something happens in those jurisdictions, we're responsive rather than being able to be proactive because of the manpower shortages," Flaherty says.
Gov. Bob McDonnell on Friday asked legislators for funding for three new trooper schools over the next two years to replenish the agency's thinning ranks. The General Assembly convenes Jan. 12.