Newport News PD kicks off weekly community engagement walks for first time since pandemic began

Newport News

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Taking back the community one step at a time — that’s what the Newport News Police Department will be doing over the next several weeks in an effort to connect with residents across the city.

Officers hit the streets Friday afternoon. It was the first weekly walk in over a year after the coronavirus pandemic put them on hold.

Chief Steve Drew said these engagement events are important, so they’re ready to make up for lost time.

“We connected,” Drew said, referencing the conversations he had with the community at Newport Commons apartment complex.

After more than a year on pause, Drew said they’re excited to continue face-to-face interaction with the public.

“Nothing takes the place of actually putting your hand in somebody else’s hand and having a conversation,” he said.

The community gave officers a warm welcome.

“They should do this everywhere come and talk to the people, you know? See how they feel,” said resident Robert Edwards. “We’re all human beings. We got to talk to each other.”

Others said they feel they will help strengthen police relations with weary residents.
Drew said the walks are just one way to do that.

“We’ve added a lot of different training components to our academy. We’ve even had people from the state that has come down and looked at some of the training that we’re doing,” he said.

Drew said they’re all important steps to building connections for a strong community.

“My hope is that maybe people looked through their window blinds and saw us and next time maybe they’ll come out and talk to us,” he said.

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