NORFOLK, Va. - After 33 years on the force, Norfolk's top cop will hang up his hat Friday.
Police Chief Larry Boone abruptly announced his retirement on Wednesday. We’re told he’s using up some time off, and he won’t officially retire until the end of the month.
“He stays true to himself, he knows what's right and to do what's in your gut," then-Police Chief Mike Goldsmith said of Boone back in November 2016.
Goldsmith, now the Deputy City Manager, had been chief for 4 years before handing the torch to then-Deputy Police Chief Boone.
Boone said this that day: "Chief Goldsmith is not leaving me with a mess, he is leaving me with a diamond."
A diamond or a dilemma? Under Goldsmith's leadership, Mayor Kenny Alexander was critical of the department, saying in 2016, "We have had too many homicides. One is too many. I think we need to increase police presence."
Now the badge is being passed back to Goldsmith at a time the city is mired in violence. There have been 129 murders in the city since 2020.
"It is top priority for this council, top priority for me and the city to address violence," Alexander said on Thursday. "Larry's retirement caught us by surprise."
Boone's retirement letter, which News 3 received Friday, stated: "I will work with you to ensure a smooth transition for Norfolk Police and the City of Norfolk.”
Another bleeding hole: the great need for officers. There are currently 227 open positions in the Norfolk Police Department with 549 officers currently on the force.
"I think we will be just fine for the duration of 6 to 7 months or less," Alexander said.
The search for a new chief will now begin, with a starting salary of around $187,000.
News 3 reached out to Boone Friday and all he would say is, "There is not much I can say until retirement."