Norfolk Police, local church hold forum on police reform

Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — As unrest over racism and police brutality continue in parts of the country, Norfolk’s police chief is opening up about the issue here in Hampton roads

The Norfolk Police Department and Calvary Revival Church held a community forum on police reform Wednesday night.

Bishop Courtney McBath and Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone discussed what the Norfolk community, police and area faith-based community can do to make policing better.

Simply put,Boone said the last few months have been unlike any other.

“This feels different. This time it feels different as it relates to police reform,” he said, referring back to other discussions on policing and equality in past decades.

NPD is working hard to be part of that change. Boone said there are several ongoing efforts to improve police trust in the community, starting with a civilian review board.

“We’re looking at putting a model together to present to council,” he said.

BELOW: Watch the full forum.

While Boone does have some concerns about overreach, he does believe civilian review boards help with transparency.

He said the city continues work toward building a website that will detail “use of force” incidents.

“You can look at use of force reports and see the race of the officer, the location on which the use of force was used, the type of force and the race of the individual that the use of force was used on,” Boone said.

Boone also said his idea of defunding the police isn’t what you might think — and doesn’t mean reducing policing.

“I do want to minimize our footprint in dealing with people dealing with mental psychosis, those going through substance abuse as well as the homeless,” he said. “We’re developing a model in which we can partner with those in the health profession.”

But before any of this, Boone said some of the most basic reform starts with rigorous training in the academy — and with compassion.

He recalled his own run-ins with the law as a minor.

“Everybody doesn’t need to go to jail. Give them an opportunity because you never know who they could become.”

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