Roanoke’s Drumstick Dash Baffled Due to Police Shortage | Local News

Thursday’s Atlantic Union Drumstick Dash was rerouted because there aren’t enough cops to fill the regular downtown Roanoke course.

The new route will use greenways and areas around River’s Edge to avoid intersections. The new start line will be on Wiley Drive at River’s Edge Park.

Police officers were stationed at every traffic light and major intersection as runners and walkers took part in the popular Thanksgiving Day 5K event downtown. But the Roanoke Police Department has too few officers available to oversee the safety of the traditional run of the holiday race, according to a statement from the organizers of Drumstick Dash.

Police officer shortages have been experienced locally and nationally in recent years. The International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2019 described it as a recruitment crisis due to the shrinking pool of applicants.

Typically, the Drumstick Dash requires a minimum of 13 officers, and ideally 15-18. The City Police Department currently has 45 regular officer positions that are vacant, spokeswoman Caitlyn Cline said in a statement. E-mail.

Cline said the police department had contacted neighboring jurisdictions to find additional staff for the event, but the response was still not sufficient to accommodate the race downtown.

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