NORFOLK, Va. — Finding Norfolk’s new police chief is not an easy task.
City leaders are about to post an advertisement for the position, more than six months after former Police Chief Larry Boone abruptly retired.
Throughout the process, they’ve asked community members what qualities they want in law enforcement leadership.
Small business owners near Military Circle Mall told 13News Now they want that person to increase police presence in the area. Others said transparency and fairness are also top of mind.
“We are not purchasing a pair of shoes,” said former Petersburg Police Chief Kenny Miller. “We are selecting a focal leader.”
Norfolk city leaders started searching for a new chief more than six months ago. Former Petersburg Chief Kenny Miller said the process is supposed to take time.
“It doesn’t happen overnight because you want to find that special person who understands what it is to be truly a police chief serving with honor and integrity,” Miller said.
Miller also served as a Virginia Beach Police Officer for over 30 years. He said there are drawbacks to having an interim chief for a long period of time. However, he said Norfolk’s situation is a bit different because Interim Police Chief Mike Goldsmith once held the police chief role.
“It leaves a sense of instability or not knowing with the workforce,” Miller said. “What cultures, or what behaviors or what rules or policies that they currently have, will those be in effect when the new person gets there?”
If city leaders hire a candidate from outside Hampton Roads, Miller said he knows from experience, there is a lot to learn.
“As much homework as you do there are a lot of little things that the old chief knew that you don’t know,” Miller said. “So, you have to hit the ground running.”
But he feels an outside candidate can bring a new perspective to any police force.
“If you have challenges internally, it is extremely important to look for some fresh ideas,” Miller said.
Norfolk Police Foundation board member Mike Barclift said the foundation would also like to see the new chief keep Norfolk’s youth in focus when hired for the job. The organization helps police officers connect with the community.
Originally, Norfolk city officials planned to hire a new chief this month. But now, Norfolk’s city manager tells 13News Now he hopes to hire a new chief by the end of this year.