NORFOLK, Va. — New community input is under consideration when it comes to the search for a new police chief in Norfolk.
City Manager Dr. Chip Filer and a consultant with Morris & McDaniel, an Alexandria-based firm, held a public forum Tuesday night.
Filer spelled out an updated timeline he expects, as he and other city leaders carry on their search for a new police chief. They initially wanted to appoint a new top cop by October. However, the process is stretching a tad longer.
The selection of a new top cop could happen by the end of the year, according to Filer.
It has been more than six months since former Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone abruptly retired.
"And we're now just having a forum," said resident Elaina Dariah, who expressed concern over the speed at which the process is moving.
Nonetheless, Dariah and several other citizens wanted to make their voices heard at the in-person event Tuesday.
"I'm looking for a police chief who will rebuild the community's trust, restore transparency in the Norfolk Police Department, its credibility and accountability in and for its officers. I would like to see a chief who would be visible in our community, not just showing up during high-profile incidents," said resident Jason Inge.
Community policing also came up as a desired focus for the next chief.
Since April, former Chief Michael Goldsmith has been at the helm on an interim basis. Whoever assumes the position next will need to address the rise in crime.
"It's concerning to us, as citizens, that we don't know," said resident Doris Young, who wished to work with the future police chief on solutions. "What should we do to prevent things from happening?"
The new chief will also need to address a force, which is down by about 250 officers.
Retired Norfolk Police Lieutenant Frank Allgood voiced concern over a department he described as "in crisis."
"There's something going on in the Norfolk Police Department that's causing the rank and file to leave at an extraordinary rate," said Allgood.
"If they want someone who's effective, I think people who are in the force right now are likely to be the best deciders or give the most relevant input," resident and secretary of the Downtown Norfolk Civic League Lorraine Connaughton stated in her personal opinion.
One point of contention during this search is feedback on whether the chosen candidate should be an internal or external hire, someone local or someone from outside of the state.
Some commenters in the audience had questions.
"What experience does or will the chief have in working with juveniles?" Rev. Dr. Geoffrey Guns of Second Calvary Baptist Church asked.
Using feedback collected Tuesday night and input already collected over the course of the past six to seven weeks, Filer told 13News Now a job ad should be posted by the end of this week or early next week. Then, it will be open for at least 30 days.
"I think we're pretty confident that 30 days will be enough. This is a pretty attractive job. I've already started fielding calls and emails from folks wondering when the position is going to be posted," said Filer.
After that, seven to eight candidates are chosen. The first round of in-person interviews follows. Then, the list dwindles down to two or three applicants, with more interviews afterward.
"I want someone who has a good grasp of the technology that we have available to us, both things we currently use and things we could be using. And I need someone who can really resonate with communities," said Filer.
He expects to announce a new chief by the end the of the year. Their start date could be immediate or fall early next year.
If you were unable to attend the public input forum in person, city leaders and consultants have been collecting comments online. The deadline to submit those comments virtually is October 31.