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Search for new top cop underway as Chesapeake police chief set to retire

In two neighboring cities, searches for new police leadership are also underway.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Chesapeake Police Chief Col. Kelvin Wright's decades-long career in law enforcement comes to a close this month. He announced the decision back in April.

In council chambers on Tuesday night, Mayor Rick West presented Wright with a key to the city in recognition of his 40 years on the force.

Starting off as a patrolman and working his way up as chief of police, Wright reiterated that he is most proud of the connections he and his force have built with the communities of Chesapeake.  

"People who have been disenfranchised, marginalized, people who don't necessarily think of the police as their friend, I think that's our biggest accomplishment," Wright said. 

Wright also said he feels confident about the crime prevention strategy in place.

"But it still takes a great deal of intense policing and good relationships with community to make sure we are indeed meeting the need and reducing crime," he said. 

Wright's retirement takes effect on Monday. He said for the first time in his life, he has no plans.

There is a nationwide search underway to find Wright's successor. There is no specific timeline for selecting the new top cop, according to a Chesapeake city spokesperson. 

A spokesperson for the city of Norfolk released this statement:

"We are in the process of selecting an executive search firm to assist the City in recruiting and evaluating possible candidates. We are aggressively working towards filling the position before the end of the year, hopefully sooner."

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Mark Solesky serves as acting chief. 

In two neighboring cities, searches for new police leadership are also underway. 

In April, Larry Boone announced his sudden retirement as Norfolk police chief. He hung up his hat just weeks later. It could be October by the time we learn who will take over in the Mermaid City. 

In Portsmouth, Former Chief Renado Prince's firing earlier this month followed controversial exits by Former Chief Angela Greene in 2020, as well as Former Chief Tonya Chapman in 2019. Leaders will take applications for a new police chief until August 10, according to a city spokesperson. 

Chapman is now back in office, but as city manager. She was the one who fired Prince.

When you look across the board, Hampton Roads is no stranger to turnover.

The longest-serving person as police chief in the Seven Cities right now is Steve Drew of Newport News, and he has only been in that position since July 2018. 

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