PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police Chief Renado Prince invited community members for a “chief’s forum” event Wednesday — the first of many he hopes to host as chief.
Prince was sworn in to lead the department nearly two months ago. During Wednesday’s forum, the new chief discussed his goals for the city along with a three pillar approach that focuses on prevention, intervention and enforcement to control violent crime.
“It’s going to take more than just the police to try and arrest everybody, because that has never worked. It will never work,” said Prince.
A community-wide effort between law enforcement, the public school system, local leaders and organizations to reach young people. Prince explained during Wednesday’s forum that most violent crime in Portsmouth involves people ages 13 to 26 and the problem isn’t so much gang-related, but young people banding together to protect one another.
“If we can provide options for that person so they can have a different choice in life rather than pointing a gun at somebody or robbing somebody or breaking into somebody’s house, if we can get them educated so they can become gainfully employed and become a good citizen in this city, everybody wins,” explained Prince.
Options like adding more youth programs into schools and working with violence interrupters on the streets.
Prince also revealed the department wants to obtain ShotSpotter technology to deter gun violence. A plan has been set in motion with local and state leaders. Right now, Newport News and Virginia Beach both use the technology.
“It’s still being put together but I think it’s going to be a really good plan. We’re shooting for a major rollout in April. If we don’t do it right, it’s not going to work,” the police chief stated.
He also mentioned the Portsmouth Police Department is short 70 officers and is actively recruiting to fill those gaps.
The forum was held at the Portsmouth Police Training Academy located at 309 Columbia Street.
The police department also recently launched a new video segment that aims to give the public insight into police operations and initiatives in the city.
Called the “Chief’s Corner,” the segment includes information, news, and notes from Prince.