NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Metropolis Council has preliminarily authorized permitting police to once more have interaction in high-speed pursuits so as to arrest somebody driving a stolen automotive.
The transfer is a reversal from the present coverage Metropolis Council ordered simply final June, which solely permits high-speed police chases for suspects accused of inflicting critical harm or loss of life to a different or displayed a handgun in a criminal offense.
On Tuesday, Police Chief Larry Boone requested Metropolis Council amend the pursuit coverage he known as “one of the crucial restrictive within the state,” so as to assist the division fight a rise in automotive thefts. He stated whereas he understands the coverage was put into place within the identify of police reform — following the loss of life of George Floyd by the hands of Minneapolis police — 18 months has revealed loads.
“We as a corporation, we embrace police reform,” Boone stated. “However I believe we’d have overreached to a point.”
Boone stated at the moment, when officers see a stolen automotive, they’ll try to start a visitors cease. However too typically, the suspect car will pace away because the officer approaches. Due to the coverage, that usually ends the encounter.
“They’re enjoying grab-butt with our officers,” Boone advised council. “That defeats their morale … [criminals] are telling people … coming from neighboring cities … ‘Norfolk is not going to chase you.’ That has been the rising narrative for 18 months now.”
Violent crime is trending up in Norfolk in 2021. Within the month of July, practically a dozen youngsters and teenagers have been shot. Members of the neighborhood are demanding change.
Boone believes that might begin with being extra aggressive in recovering stolen autos.
Boone stated beginning final August, his division started seeing a pattern with the variety of stolen autos and shootings.
Ceaselessly, he stated weapons are present in stolen autos and stolen autos are used to commit drive-by shootings.
Boone stated officers would nonetheless not be given free rein to begin pursuits. Police supervisors would nonetheless make that decision.
“Officers should steadiness the seriousness of the state of affairs and the significance of legislation enforcement’s goal in opposition to the hazards to security and welfare of residents and police personnel concerned,” Boone stated.
Metropolis Council unanimously authorized the chief’s request to begin altering the pursuit coverage, nevertheless nonetheless desires solutions on different methods the chief anticipated to handle crime.
The chief outlined 41 officers have now been deployed to crime “hotspots” within the metropolis and visitors has been closed off within the 700-800 blocks of Granby avenue to assist curb recent violence in the Neon District.
A number of Metropolis Council members needed to know what else police felt was “holding them again” in doing their jobs, so Mayor Kenny Alexander requested for a extra complete look.
“Take a look at the present insurance policies which may be restrictive and what practices are there and what procedures that we are able to enhance upon so you may convey one thing again, so a few of the questions we now have could be answered,” Alexander stated.
Boone continued to emphasise as he typically does that police can’t repair the issue alone, however he stated proper now “they’re preventing with one hand tied behind their again.”
“Proper now, the one measure that we are able to take as a physique that may have affect is pursuing stolen vehicles,” Boone stated. “The minute they notice we aren’t going to tolerate that, they’ll take their enterprise elsewhere.”