SUFFOLK, Va. — How safe do people living in Suffolk feel?
That’s what city leaders want to know. Suffolk’s Public Safety Committee met for the first time on Wednesday, led by Mayor Mike Duman.
“Nobody knows what is needed in a particular neighborhood than the folks that live in that neighborhood,” Mayor Duman said.
They brainstormed initial ideas and how to open lines of communication with the community.
“I think the good thing about Suffolk is we are all trying to do our best to make our city better,” said Suffolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Narendra Pleas.
Pleas, Schools Superintendent Dr. John Gordon, Sheriff E.C. Harris, some council members, police and fire department representatives are just a few of the people at the table.
“We have to eliminate the idea of working in silos, the more communication we can have on this topic, the better,” Superintendent Gordon said.
The committee wants to establish up to 15 zones across the city. They want community groups to meet regularly to talk about problems in their neighborhoods the city could help with.
“Something tragic happens, everyone is out, everyone is supportive,” Pleas said. “Let's do it in the downtime because maybe we can prevent something bad from happening.”
They are also working to set up a way for people to contact them anonymously online.
“A lot of people like to do things anonymously,” said Councilmember Roger Fawcett. “There is some civic groups to engage, but not everyone goes to the civic meetings.”
Mayor Duman said this is just the first of many meetings.
“I am very optimistic as to where we are going,” Duman said. “Our next meeting hopefully we will be able to have a process down where we can communicate that information to our citizens, and hopefully they can communicate that information to us.”
Suffolk’s public safety committee members plan to meet every other month. Their next meeting is set for July 26.
Suffolk City Council members voted back in March to create this public safety committee.