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Hampton police chief is set to become next Norfolk police chief

An official announcement should come later this week. His start date is not immediately known.

NORFOLK, Va. — Editor's note: The City of Norfolk officially announced that Mark Talbot would become the city's police chief Wednesday afternoon. Watch it here.

The search for a Norfolk police chief has dragged on for almost a year, following the abrupt retirement of Larry Boone in April 2022. 

The city hired a search firm and interviewed candidates from across the nation. But in the end, they did not have to look outside Hampton Roads.

A source confirmed to 13News Now that Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot will become Norfolk's next top cop.

Talbot has been chief of police in Hampton since July 2021.

City Manager Dr. Chip Filer invited Talbot to sit in on interviews with the finalists for the job as the city worked to whittle down its finalist list. Our source told us that Talbot had not applied for the job at that time.

Public records show that Talbot was making $180,000 in Hampton when he was first hired in 2021.

'I was shocked': Talbot's boss in Hampton responds

On Tuesday, Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting gave the following statement to city employees on the announcement of Talbot's new position:

"Like many of you, I was shocked to learn that Chief Talbot has decided to leave Hampton for Norfolk ... First and foremost, I want to assure you that the Hampton Police Division has the City Council’s and my unwavering support. We are proud of the work you are doing. We will ensure that HPD gets an outstanding Chief who can continue to implement strong evidence-based strategies, such as those Chief Talbot brought to Hampton. You deserve, and will get, nothing less..."

The statement continued to express the dialogue that is happening among city leaders in the aftermath of the announcement. 

"I have already begun conversations with the Council, the Commonwealth's Attorney, key city staff, and some trusted community leaders about how to best ensure a smooth transition. When I get back from vacation, I will visit with HPD team members and discuss next steps. In the meantime, please stay safe and focused on the outstanding job you do for our community each and every day."

A veteran officer with more than three decades of experience in law enforcement, Talbot was also previously at the helm in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the municipality reported a 50% reduction in crime in a span of three years. 

Residents, community leaders react

Talbot's upcoming arrival to Norfolk brings a lot of hope for residents like Christopher Shields. He also serves as treasurer of the Downtown Norfolk Civic League.

Shields, in part, wants to see Talbot prioritize nightlife safety initiatives, such as the newly announced Gold Bar accreditation program

"We want to see how he can change the culture around here, so that we don't need for Chief Talbot to pull from other areas of Norfolk to put more people down here, but we change the culture so that everyone down here understands this is a safe area to be," said Shields. 

Moreover, Talbot will oversee a force, including Norfolk detective Michael Lynch, who also heads up the Norfolk chapter of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association.

"My top three priorities are the leadership, morale and, of course, correct officer pay. So, hopefully, we together can start fixing those problems," Lynch told 13News Now. He said he is looking forward to meeting and talking with Talbot. 

Talbot will also have to address a force that is down by 200 or so officers.

As he prepares to move to the Mermaid City from Hampton, Hampton Mayor Donnie Tuck expressed surprise and disappointment in response to Talbot's decision to leave. 

"I'm surprised and disappointed, but people make employment decisions every day. And I think what Chief Talbot has done is make a decision that's best for himself and for his family," Tuck said. 

He praised Talbot for his efforts in the last 21 months. "Of course, January was really an anomaly, between shootings and the amount of homicides. Even then, his response was to have an all-hands-on-deck as far as getting every available patrol person out on the streets," he said. 

Like Tuck, Gaylene Kanoyton, president of the Hampton branch of the NAACP, said she is sad to see Talbot go — describing him as a leader with a firm grasp on the criminal justice system.

"Chief Talbot was nothing more than the best, the absolute best ... [He] understood social determinants of health, understood where crime starts, the community aspect of it, the family aspect of it, trauma, mental health," said Kanoyton.

Making the formal announcement

Filer is expected to introduce Talbot as the 35th chief in Norfolk Police Department’s history during a briefing with the press on Wednesday afternoon. 

Filer and Talbot are expected to be flanked by Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith, who is set to retire on April 14

Talbot's last day in Hampton and first day in Norfolk were not made known to the public on Tuesday. Although, Norfolk city officials previously assured there would be no period wherein no one is in command of the Norfolk Police Department

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