Wise County

New police chief facing challenges before starting first day

Coeburn Police resign

COEBURN, Va. - A Chief of Police in Coeburn, Virginia is playing catch-up after at least seven officers resigned before he even started his first day.

News 5 has been covering this story from the beginning and Friday we went to see if concerns are growing in a town of 2,000. Town leaders say so far all of the safety needs in the community are being met.

There are still not as many blue lights on the streets of Coeburn, Virginia. "In a perfect world I would have seven officers," said Chief of Police Scott Brooks.

Back in October at least seven officers turned in their badges all on the same day; no reason was given. But it happened on the heels of the appointment of Scott Brooks as Chief of Police on October 4.

News 5 checked with Chief Brooks to see how he's been resolving these challenges. "It's really bad timing for the whole town. But we're trying to manage the resources we have, the resources we had, and try to take advantage of everything we can," he said.

News 5 learned help has been coming from the Wise County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, and Coeburn Police Officers working overtime.

Chief Brooks says so far he's hired one full-time officer and two auxiliary officers that resigned are back on staff. But there's still the need to hire more. "Our budget just isn't going to allow me to do that at this point," he said.

Chief Brooks says that's because so many officers resigned all at the same time and now it's challenging to update equipment and get new patrol cars.

Residents like Charlotte Adkins say news spread like wildfire about Coeburn Police resigning and there's the hope to see more blue lights. "I just wonder if there was an emergency in one place that there would be enough to come to an emergency in another place," she said.

News 5 also checked with Coeburn Town Mayor Jess Powers; we learned town leaders are working to help solve the current problems with the police department's budget.

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