Hampton’s first Black police chief hopes to build public trust with ‘minimum dose’ policing

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HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — The Hampton NAACP held a meeting Monday to introduce new Police Chief Mark Talbot, the city’s first-ever Black police chief.

Talbot, who’s coming from Norristown, Pennsylvania, will officially start on July 6. He was the “top choice after each round of the comprehensive interview process, which included more than 35 community leaders and staff,” said Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting.

During the virtual meeting Monday, Talbot said the opportunity is not lost on him.

“I’m thankful that it gets to be me, but I also think that in a world which — again — everybody actually counted the same, it wouldn’t have taken this long,” he said.

That being said, Talbot hopes to make the city a safer place and one where everyone feels they’re treated the same no matter their background.

“What I want is for everybody who interacts with police officers, I want you to get treated like you’re the police chief,” Talbot said.

The new chief also wants to build trust and create stronger relationships in the community. He said part of achieving this is by a “minimum dose” approach.

“Policing must dramatically reduce the coercive mechanisms that we’re using to keep our communities safe,” Talbot said.

He said this ranges from the tone of voice police officers speak with, all the way up to the use of deadly force. Talbot said offenses also need to be prioritized.

“We have to stop arresting people and ruining their lives for minor violations,” he said.

Talbot also supports a citizen review panel.

“We have to do a better job of building systems that not only deliver public safety but identify police officers that behave in ways that are deeply inconsistent with the oath that he or she swore,” he said.

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