NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – One way to fight crime in our backyard is through community outreach. That’s the goal of the new “Chief on the Go” program in Newport News.
Acting Police Chief Mike Grinstead spent Wednesday addressing concerns and getting to know the community.
Often, when people see police officers in their neighborhoods, it’s for something bad. Grinstead wants to change that. He says that recently, a lot of community watch groups have said they want better access to law enforcement. So, he took his office and went mobile.
Marshall Courts is where Diana Waller calls home. She says she sees more violence in the summer.
“We need a whole lot of policemen around here,” Waller said. “You know they’re doing it night and day, it doesn’t make a difference.”
However, Waller says she sees a lot of police officers patrolling year-round.
She said, “I see them walking and riding on bikes. It’s kind of peaceful for now.”
But on Wednesday, there were more officers than normal in her neighborhood.
“Even if the weather is bad, the police department is still here,” said Newport News Acting Chief Michael Grinstead, “We’re 24/7.”
Grinstead says residents have asked for more access, so he brought his office to them.
“This is the mobile command post,” he said. “So it has all the computers and the phones and everything. It’s actually got more communication equipment than my office has.”
Inside the post, people could sit with officers and share any concerns over cookies and a cup of coffee.
“The police department hears their voices, hears their concerns, and of course I want to hear more,” Grinstead said.
He says they picked this location for a few reasons, including concerns about crime and a high concentration of residents.
The department is hoping the program will show residents that the men and women in blue are there, no matter what happens.
“We’re just not out here when bad things happen,” Grinstead said. “We’re out here shoulder to shoulder, good times with bad.”
That’s something Waller is grateful for.
“I can come out of my house, go to the store and be safe without getting shot,” Waller said.
Grimstead says the department plans to continue the program. He says next month’s “Chief on the Go” will be in the central precinct and may feature a different piece of equipment.