Roanoke Police receive funding designed to help keep city safe

Published: Jan. 8, 2023 at 6:29 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Roanoke City Police Chief Sam Roman says 2022 was the third-highest homicide rate in the city’s history. But the department just received funding that could help keep you and your family safe.

Officials say there were 68 shootings in 2022. Only 18 were closed by arrest and 4 have a warrant on file. Police say this is because some witnesses and victims don’t cooperate.

“Where people are coming forward with information, impactful information that will help solve crimes, and ultimately help hold people who continue to perpetuate violence in our community accountable. And until we master that accountability piece, it’s going to be tough to make an impact in violent crime,” said Roman.

To try and stop the violence in 2023, RPD is opening a real-time crime center. It would help field officers get instant information to stop emerging crimes.

“To be able not only to predict crime but to get in front of crime in a real-time way to interrupt crime,” explained Roman.

The department is also planning to purchase six new license plate readers. Roman says the Star City had license plate readers in the past until they no longer worked.

“If you need to know what cars were in the area of this violent crime that has occurred, you’re able to carry the system and see that,” added Roman.

City Council accepted a grant from the state that will fund new technology for law enforcement.

“It says that they’re portable. Will these be kept in particular places around the city? Or will they be moved around?” asked Councilman Luke Priddy.

Roman answered a possible location where a license plate reader would be used is Williamson Road.

“We’ve had several fights, we’ve had several shootings, we’ve had several shots fired in which no one was hit by gunfire. However, when our officers get there, many times there is not much cooperation in terms of what vehicles were involved,” said Roman.

Police say they will only use the license plate readers for crime investigations.