NORFOLK, Va. — UPDATE: Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone is retiring, the city announced Wednesday.
Boone's official last day is April 29, but City Manager Chip Filer said Boone's final day in office will be Friday, April 8.
Filer did not elaborate on the reason for Boone's retirement, but the announcement comes as the city deals with a surge in violent crime, including two recent deadly shootings in Downtown Norfolk that have left five people hurt and three dead.
To date in 2022, at least 49 people have been shot in 34 separate shootings in Norfolk.
Filer said the city will immediately begin a search for a new chief, with the process expected to take about five months.
"This is an exciting and progressive city and I believe the job opening will generate significant interest from high-quality candidates across the United States," said Filer during a press conference Wednesday.
In the meantime, Deputy City Manager Mike Goldsmith will step in as interim police chief. He served as Norfolk’s police chief for over four years before Boone took over in 2016.
Mayor Kenny Alexander said he was surprised by the announcement. Despite allegations from the community during a budget hearing Wednesday night, Alexander said he has no reason to believe Boone was fired. He referred to Filer for further questions because that's who Boone reports to.
Carlos Clanton, the vice-chair of the Norfolk School Board, praised what Boone has done as chief over the last six years.
"A great, great, great man who has worked hard for the citizens of Norfolk who believed in a model of community policing," Clanton said.
Norfolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi tweeted: “Chief Boone has had one of the hardest law-enforcement jobs in Virginia, and he has done his best.”
On Thursday night, Stacie Armstead, president of the Norfolk NAACP, released the following statement:
“The Norfolk Branch NAACP would like to take this opportunity to thank Chief Larry Boone for his 33 years of service to the residents and Norfolk Police Department in the City of Norfolk. We acknowledge that at times it was one of the most difficult jobs, but you always put the needs of the citizens and members of the Norfolk Police Department priority. Chief Boone did his due diligence to build trust between the community and law enforcement.
We recognize that being a law enforcement officer is an extremely dangerous occupation especially given the recent events in our city. Therefore, the Norfolk Branch NAACP would like to thank you for your leadership, support, and dedication to the tasks, and for rallying around our communities in the most difficult times.”
Filer said they want to thank Boone for his years of service.
"He implemented much-needed changes both within the department and within the communities. I wish him the best as he moves into the next chapter," Filer said.
Boone did not attend Wednesday's announcement, but in a news release, he stated: "After serving this community for over 30 years, I have decided the time is right to retire. My goal was to see the department through the pandemic and, as we begin to emerge, there is an opportunity for a change in leadership."
According to his bio on the City of Norfolk's website, Boone began his career in law enforcement with the Norfolk Police Department in 1989. He was appointed Chief of Police on December 1, 2016.