Norfolk Police Department recognized for making connections with the community


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) –The Norfolk Police Department’s video lip-sync of the Bruno Mars hit song, Uptown Funk, won the 2019 CBS National Lip Sync to the Rescue Championship.

The wildly popular video, seen around the world, was led by four officers — dubbed the fab four — and included a host of other first responders. Amazingly, the video was shot in one take.

The video is just one of twenty programs launched by Police Chief Larry Boone that are designed to change the relationship between police and the community.

Chief Larry Boone during a community event

“It really gave us the opportunity to highlight some of our other community engagement activities,” said Police Chief Larry Boone.

Who doesn’t want to get pulled over by the Norfolk Police Copsicle Truck? Another program, Cops and Curls, is a night on the town with an officer to help boost the self-esteem of young girls. The Five-0 and Fades program allows youth to have an old-school barbershop discussion with an officer.

The 20 programs are featured in the August 2020 issue of The International Association of Chiefs of Police magazine just as the city reached a seven-year low watermark in violent crime. Boone is grateful for the recognition, but is cautious because illegal weapons are still easily available on the streets.

“I’m not spiking the ball, but we have a lot of work to do, he said. “But we have made a dramatic decrease in crime.”

Tasks ahead include retooling a critical literacy and mentoring program that is school-based.

When Norfolk Public Schools start the new school year this fall, all classes will be held remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, 55 officers will meet with youngsters virtually. Boone, who has partnered with the Norfolk Life Enrichment Center, says his program offers youth a path out of poverty one syllable at a time.

“If you cannot read by the third grade, it greatly impacts your future — so we are doing our part to positively impact that school-to-prison pipeline,” he said.

Boone says community policing means just that. He’s calling on the public, businesses and the media to support programs to curb violence.

“Be very supportive of us. If you see something, say something, and if you want to participate in some of our programs, we would be happy to insert you into some of our programs — because again — it’s not about us, it’s about all of us, ” said Boone.

The Uptown Funk lip sync is getting some internal competition on the internet. Officer Elaine Rhodes, a Norfolk native, is taking Instagram by storm with her dance video with neighborhood girls.

Boone says the interaction is just one more way officers are building bridges in the community.

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