Va. law enforcement urges passage of state budget, citing safety risk

Virginia’s police chiefs, sheriffs and prosecutors sent letters to legislators urging them to pass a state budget so they can receive the funding needed to protect residents.

“A state shutdown because we do not have a budget will not allow public safety in Virginia regardless of the color of uniform to provide for the protection and security of the people we have sworn to serve,’’ writes Galax Chief R.C. Clark, Jr., who serves as president of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Senate Democrats voted against the two-year, $85 billion budget Wednesday for the second time, making it unclear whether the General Assembly will pass a budget by its scheduled adjournment March 10. The budget is supposed to go into effect July 1.

“Any delay in actual funding could severely limit our ability to perform our core functions investigating and prosecuting criminals and serving crime victims,’’ said David Grimes, president of the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

There’s still time for the General Assembly to get a budget completed, either before it adjourns or in a special session.

“Local governments must adopt budgets based on the state budget, therefore unnecessary delay or ultimate failure to adopt a state budget jeopardizes the ability of local governments to adequately address the public safety needs of our citizens,’’ said J.D. Diggs, Sheriff of York County and the City of Poquoson and president of the Virginia Sheriffs’ Association.

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