NORFOLK -- Norfolk police are unveiling a new strategy to fight crime.
"We are moving back to community policing. We need to understand what the community needs and get feedback to adjust our strategy to make them safer,” said Chief Michael Goldsmith.
Goldsmith set that goal to improve community policing when he took office in June this year. Now he’s kicking off a new effort in the Ghent area, or 3rd Patrol Division. His first step is requiring two officers in each patrol car, working together.
“When you work as a team, you’re more proactive. With a two-man unit you have permanent eyes in the back of your head. It’s better safety for the officer,” Norfolk police union president Randy Brann explained.
Another change is switching officers from 10-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts, to keep more police on the streets. “I think the 12-hour shifts are a plus for the department and the community,” Brann said.
When the previous chief suggested the schedule switch, concerns arose that officers would be tired and not alert. Norfolk will be the only South Hampton Roads city to move officers to 12-hour shifts.
Also as part of the plan, police will increase bike patrols and emphasize getting tips from civic leagues and neighborhood watch groups.
Once the effort gets underway on November 12, the Chief and Command Staff will further review to determine if the plan should be implemented in the two other patrol divisions that cover the City.