Oceanfront safety ordinance that would start 2 capital projects, transfer $1.87 million up for vote Tuesday

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In the wake of multiple shootings at the Oceanfront late last month that left two dead and nine others injured, Virginia Beach City Council is set to vote on a resolution that would give the police department more tools to keep the resort area safe.

At its April 20 meeting, City Council will consider a resolution to establish two capital projects and transfer $1.87 million to help police initiatives.

The money will go toward expanding the Oceanfront camera system, buying access to a national ballistic information database to help investigative efforts, deploying a gunshot detection system for the area, hiring a consultant to look at staffing and service data, installing safety lighting, and more.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Beach Resort Advisory Commission approved a letter requesting that City Council increase funding for the police department in this year’s new budget.

While the city’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget and capital improvement plan do include some additional public safety initiatives, agenda documents said “it is apparent that immediate action is needed to improve the overall safety within the Resort Area” before the next fiscal year starts.

About $300,000 is already included in the proposed budget to expand the Oceanfront camera system.

One of the commission’s requests was to invest in technology such as ShotSpotter — a sensor system currently used in Newport News that detects gunfire and pinpoints its origin — which is included in the April 20 proposed ordinance, as well.

Here’s the complete list of what’s in the proposed resolution for April 20, 2021:

  • Expansion of the Oceanfront camera system: $1.2 million to purchase and install additional cameras. This amount will be combined with the $300,000 included in the fiscal year 2022 proposed budget to add 42 cameras in the resort area.
  • Purchase and access of BrassTRAX: $233,000 to include implementation and five years of licensing costs. This technology gives the police department quick access to national ballistic data to help investigations.
  • Gunshot detection system: $240,000 to purchase and deploy a system to quickly identify and triangulate gunshots within a 3-square-mile area. Establishes a capital project for the initiative to give opportunities to expand system.
  • Staffing plan and police structure assessment: $80,000 for a consultant to give a comprehensive assessment and examine the city’s police officer deployments, staffing standards, service response and crime data. The study will give recommendations for areas of improvement in the department’s organizational structure and the best way to use law enforcement personnel.
  • Safety lighting: $117,000 to purchase up to 13 mobile and temporary lighting units. It will give the police department flexibility to move the lighting and address areas with safety concerns.

The city has already agreed to spend more than $1.2 million to relaunch the Resort Management Office to help address issues in the resort. “Ambassadors,” meant to help create a more “welcoming atmosphere,” started April 1.

Chief Paul Neudigate has said the department is roughly 100 officers short.

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