Breaking News
More () »

Help Wanted: As Norfolk's police chief retires, department deals with major staff shortage

Norfolk police officers express their concerns as NPD Chief Larry Boone is set to retire.

NORFOLK, Va. — As Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone hangs up his badge after more than 30 years on the force, some officers are saying they are worried about the department's staffing. 

His departure comes as the Norfolk Police Department deals with staffing shortages and trouble recruiting.

“We’re not too concerned about the chief leaving. We're concerned about trying to help and benefit the officers that are on the street,” said Michael Lynch, chairman of the Virginia Police Benevolent Association Norfolk Chapter.

According to Lynch, NPD has more than 200 vacancies to fill, much of caused by due to competitive pay elsewhere.

At Wednesday's Norfolk City Council, meeting dozens of Norfolk police officers stood in solidarity during the budget meeting.

Retired Norfolk Police Officer Michael Brunner worked for the department for 39 years. He spoke at the meeting.

“I want my brothers and sisters in the police department to continue doing the job you’re doing under the adverse conditions and hopefully the city will rectify the pay problem quickly... not another year but they need to do it now. The citizens deserve better," said Brunner. 

In addition to staffing and pay issues at the department, Lynch said morale is low among some of the police officers.

“Because you got officers, they don’t trust their supervisors and that drags them around down in the department. You don’t have officers backing other officers," said Lynch. 

Lynch said Norfolk police officers will continue to protect and serve as they wait for a new chief to take over.

The Downtown Norfolk Civic League Vice President Preston Carraway believes more collaboration with the police department could hopefully stop some of the violence that has plagued the city.

“It’s a multi-faceted problem that we really need city leadership in the community to come together to figure out what’s wrong and what are we gonna do to fix it," said Carraway. 

Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer said the search for Boone's replacement is already underway.

In the meantime, Deputy City Manager Mike Goldsmith will serve as interim chief. Goldsmith served as Noforlk's police chief for more than four years before Boone took over in 2016. 

Filer said it will take at least five months to fill the role. 

Before You Leave, Check This Out