NORFOLK, Va. (WRIC) — The Norfolk Police Department has redeveloped their structure to deal with patrol officer shortage.
Since 2020, NPD said it has been managing a shortage of officers by utilizing officers from specialized units and administrative services as patrol officers.
Beginning July 6, there will be more patrol officers spread throughout the city, according to NPD.
“The safety of the community and our officers must be a priority,” said Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith. “When you’re short staffed, it is our duty to develop a plan that helps us maintain our emergency response capabilities in order to protect the citizens of Norfolk and provide for the safety of our officers on patrol. Our plan to detail additional officers to the street will help address these concerns and foster proactive policing.”
Another aspect of NPD’s restructuring is a new program called “NPD Live,” originating from their new Telephone Response Unit, NPD said the program allows officers to remain available for emergencies while answering the 17,000 average calls received monthly.
In 2020, NPD created TRU, where people can talk to a police officer on the phone or virtually to make incident reports or assist with crime-related matters, according to NPD.
The NPD said it created the Online Citizens Reporting System, which allows people to electronically file incident reports for property crimes, and the MyNorfolk app and online portal, where people can report quality of life issues.
NPD said that officer responding to non-emergency calls will be reduced. People who make these calls will be redirected to NPD Live and TRU when an officer is not available to respond to the call in person.
“Our goal is to use technology as a force multiplier to help keep officers available on the street,” said Interim Chief Goldsmith. “NPD is not reducing services but changing the way we handle some non-emergency calls so we can provide better in-person services for more urgent matters.”