Leesburg PD Reports Crime Decline, but Traffic, Staffing Challenges

Crime continues to decline in Leesburg, but the Police Department faces challenges with traffic safety and staffing.

Police Chief Greg Brown on Monday presented to the Town Council a report of the town’s 2021 crime statistics that continue to depict Leesburg as one of the safest communities in the region. 

Calls for service dropped for the third consecutive year in 2021, and crimes and arrests in most categories declined or held steady compared with 2020. 

While the pandemic likely contributed to those trends, state police reform legislation is having a significant impact. 

Drug violations and arrests decreased sharply following marijuana legalization measures and restrictions on probable cause traffic stops, such as driving at night with headlights turned off, approved by the General Assembly. In 2021, the department reported 26 drug-related arrests, down from 97 the previous year.  

“The hands of law enforcement have been tied in lots of areas because of legislation that has been passed at the state level,” Councilwoman Kari Nacy said.

She asked if the crime rate would be higher without those changes.

“Those types of things have really stifled us and not given us the tools that we can really address public safety. So a hypothetical yes, but from a professional perspective and experience I would say a definite yes,” Brown said.

Brown said the biggest public safety problems in town are related to traffic. He cited an increase in speeding, noting the recent citation for a driver clocked at 133 miles per hour, which the department believes is a new record.

“I’m going to say it: speed kills. It’s a very dangerous thing. We do not want to see an increase in fatalities on the roads of Leesburg,” Brown said.

Authority to install speed enforcement technology, such as cameras, could help with that, he said. Currently, the General Assembly permits such devices only in school and construction zones. 

But traffic enforcement also is being limited by the department’s staffing vacancies, currently at 21 positions—the highest number of job openings since Brown was hired in 2016. The situation was exacerbated by a wave of departures in January when the Town Council imposed a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all town staff members.

“Right now, personnel is our biggest issue,” Brown said.

Staffing is a challenge for law enforcement around the region and across the country, but Brown said the town’s higher salary levels and reputation for professionalism provide an advantage even as competition for highly qualified officers escalates. 

Brown said one thing he won’t do is reduce his hiring standards.

“I’m holding steadfast to our current requirements. There is a reason why the Leesburg Police Department reports such low numbers for internal and external complaints. It’s because we are professionals and we give them the right training and then we hold them accountable through policy,” Brown told the council. “I’m not going to lower our standards. That bring a whole host of problems that we actually experienced in the ’90s in this profession and I’m not willing to return there.

3 thoughts on “Leesburg PD Reports Crime Decline, but Traffic, Staffing Challenges

  • 2022-05-24 at 2:20 pm

    Two Leesburg murders in the past sixty days.
    Chief Brown is whistling past the graveyard.

    Also sounds like he wants to up their revenuing game… watch for phoney constructions zone to pop up and stay up around town.

    How about reporting some specific numbers on the staffing vacancies?

  • 2022-05-24 at 6:49 pm

    It’s time to stop the terrible carnage on Loudoun’s roadways. They’re often clogged to a standstill. When traffic moves, road rage takes over & people get killed. All too often, law enforcement is nowhere to be found. Speed limits are violated with abandon. So roll up your sleeves & help save lives, Leesburg! No more shrugging of your shoulders. Happy Bike Month Loudoun!

  • 2022-05-26 at 10:33 pm

    If there are shortages, beg those officers that the DEMs fired to return to work. It was their right to refuse experimental injections more likely to do them harm than the virus. The boosted are more likely to be re-infected than those with natural immunity. FORCING them to choose between jobs that feed their families and mandatory injection shows the disrespect that DEMs have for people who choose to make their own medical decisions. Do the right thing. Give them back their jobs!

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