NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Police departments across Hampton Roads are participating in this year’s National Night Out event.
The official National Night Out is on Tuesday, Aug. 1. The night offers a time to meet and interact with people in the community to help fight crime.
Norfolk Police Chief Mark Talbot said he will celebrate the night on the southside of Hampton Roads for the first time next week.
Events like National Night Out are important to building trust in the community, Talbot said, where people can meet their neighbors, and interact with officers. It’s everybody’s responsibility to help build a safer community, he added.
“It’s hard to reset and restore,” said Talbot. “So, having these opportunities in a low intensity setting where it’s okay to smile and laugh and talk about things that aren’t tragic — I think it’s priceless.”
Talbot said he became a police officer because an officer decided to build a relationship with him when he was a kid.
“You just never know what that’s going to do in the life of a child,” Talbot said.
Talbot began his role as Norfolk Police Chief on May 1.
In his first few months, Talbot said he worked to get to know his police officers. While some changes they have made might not be visible externally, Talbot said, they have changed the tone of conversations within the department.
“A year from now, I believe you will see a city that’s much safer than it is today, and I believe you will see an organization that’s much more equipped to do exactly what the city need it to do,” Talbot said.
He wants to make sure the department’s resources are deployed to parts of Norfolk that need the most attention. With the violent crime in Norfolk, Talbot said they are moving in the right direction.
“You never think about wins in terms of violent crime rates, but [in terms of] progress,” Talbot said. “So, we are making progress.”