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Chesapeake City Council unanimously passes emergency declaration

In an 8-0 vote, Chesapeake city councilors voted to give more money to the city's first responders who helped after the Walmart mass shooting.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake City Council members and Mayor Rick West unanimously passed an emergency declaration to pay overtime wages to police officers and responders who helped after the Walmart shooting.

The only item on the agenda in Monday's special session was voting on the emergency declaration. In an 8-0 vote, all present council members voted in favor of it. 

Councilmember Stephen Best was the only excused absent vote.

West said this emergency declaration will help pay overtime for dozens of Chesapeake police officers who responded to the deadly mass shooting.

"We're going to make sure what needs to be done is done," West said. "Whether that comes out of local funds or not, but I think our taxpayers will be very willing to see the money being spent this way."

The declaration will also allow local leaders to request funds from both the state and federal levels, and will eliminate some legal obstacles to sending out the money. This, in turn, could reimburse the city for emergency costs. 

West said another priority was getting the funding out as quickly as possible. 

"If you know anything about government, it takes a long time to do anything, so this makes a shortcut for getting things that we need," said West.

Council members could not say how much money would go towards first responders but said it could be a substantial amount. 

The state of emergency will last until Dec. 5, when it will either expire or city council members will have to vote again to extend it. 

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