Norfolk Police Department develops new plan to respond to calls, keep officers safe

Generic: Norfolk Police Department
Posted at 4:09 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 18:21:17-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Norfolk Police are changing things up a bit. The department announced it has redesigned its organizational structure to enhance law enforcement services and promote officer safety.

Since 2020, NPD says it has experienced a significant shortage of patrol officers. While the department works to recruit people, officers currently assigned to specialty units and administrative services will be detailed to patrol districts throughout the city.

“I know residents have heard about our shortages and are concerned about our ability to respond to emergencies,” said Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith. “I want them to know that we have come up with a plan to have our precincts fully staffed and available for your call.”

Starting Wednesday, July 6, residents can expect to see more officers in their communities throughout the summer. This will not only help reduce crime; it will also promote officer safety.

“The safety of the community and our officers must be a priority,” said Goldsmith. “When you’re short staffed, it is our duty to develop a plan that helps us maintain our emergency response capabilities in order to protect the citizens of Norfolk and provide for the safety of our officers on patrol. Our plan to detail additional officers to the street will help address these concerns and foster proactive policing.”

More officers on the street is just one component of the department’s redesign. Technology is another.

With NPD receiving more than 17,000 calls a month for service, an enhanced method of handling these calls, while keeping officers available for emergencies, needed to be implemented.

In 2020, the department created the Telephone Response Unit (TRU) and a new program called “NPD Live.” Made up of sworn police officers, TRU allows citizens to speak with an officer over the phone or virtually to make incident reports and assist with crime-related matters.

This is just one of many opportunities provided by the City of Norfolk to receive a law enforcement service.

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Additional resources include the Online Citizens Reporting System, where citizens can electronically file an incident report for various property crimes, and the MyNorfolk app and online portal, which allow citizens to report quality of life issues.

In addition to the shift in resources, the department will reduce in-person officer response to some non-emergency calls. Citizens will be referred to NPD Live and TRU for assistance when an officer is not available to respond in-person.

“Our goal is to use technology as a force multiplier to help keep officers available on the street,” said Goldsmith. “NPD is not reducing services but changing the way we handle some non-emergency calls so we can provide better in-person services for more urgent matters.”

Throughout the summer, NPD will work with the Emergency Operations Center to ensure that non-emergency calls are routed to the Telephone Response Unit, Citizens Reporting System and the MyNorfolk app or portal for handling.

The resources described are accessible at the following links:

For more information, click here.