NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Steve Drew will bring more than two decades of law enforcement experience into his new job as police chief of Newport News.
Drew, who’s served as deputy police chief of Richmond since April 2015, said being selected as chief was the greatest moment of his career.
While he won’t officially become the city’s police chief until July 2, he already has ideas for the department.
“We’ll have a heavy influence on community engagement with our citizens, our neighborhoods, our businesses, our faith leaders, and I kind of keep this in a separate category, we’re going to interact with the youth of this city,” said Drew.
He also says that his 450 officers will be aggressive on crime.
“We are going to reduce crime in this city we are not going to allow the criminal element to come and prey on the good citizens of Newport News,” said Drew.
And when crime does disrupt a community, he would like to have a team specifically to help them heal.
“When we have a traumatic event in the neighborhood we’re going to walk that neighborhood, I’ll ask faith leaders and business owners to walk with us,” said Drew.
He says they will do a 30-day assessment to see what would work best for the police department and the streets of Newport News.
“I am excited that Steve is joining the Newport News team to lead our nationally accredited Police Department,” said City Manager Cynthia Rohlf in a statement Thursday. “His extensive law enforcement experience coupled with a strong belief in partnerships between the community and the police will serve our citizens well.
The city announced the hiring Thursday morning.
The announcement comes after former Police Chief Richard Myers retired from the department last September, after nearly four years with the department.
Rohlf named Micheal Grinstead the city’s interim chief back in August.
Late last year, the city held two community forms and posted a survey online to hear what people wanted in the new chief.
Drew will lead about 600 employees — making it the fourth largest municipal department in the state, according to the Newport News website.
One of the tasks Drew will have to combat is the homicide rate in the city.
Earlier this month, police spokesperson Brandon Maynard said the city is seeing an increase in homicides this year in comparison to 2017.
A shooting on May 21 marked the 10th homicide in the city. Police say someone shot and killed 23-year-old Melquan Kennedy on Circuit Lane.
People at the scene said they would like the gun violence in the area and the city to stop.
Drew will start his new role as chief of Newport News July 2, and will have an annual salary of $177,000.