Roanoke City Council member welcomes new assistant city managers, talks search for new police chief

Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 11:52 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The City of Roanoke will soon have three assistant city managers. Angie O’Brien and current Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman were appointed Monday. O’Brien will start immediately and Roman will start in July.

Council members, including Stephanie Moon Reynolds, congratulated both and spoke with WDBJ7 about Roman and the search for a new police chief in the coming months.

“I was very delighted and elated for him, having known Chief Roman, he had come back, but when he was in the police department, as a lieutenant, I recall, seeing him around the building. So for him, I was excited for that opportunity, that he was going to be coming into a different position.”

Moon Reynolds said she is looking forward to Roman being able to continue to connect with the community in the new role.

“He’s already in the community, but now people would see him in a different role and he would be able to connect a little bit more effectively than being a chief of police. But the children, I thought about having now to see that you can not only become a chief of police, or go into law enforcement, but you can also go into government, and to be able to have a different career and grow in that area.”

Moon Reynolds said Roman’s time as Chief has been a challenge, but he has done the best he can.

He came at a time of COVID; it was nothing that he had bargained for. So we were shut down for a while as he was trying to get acclimated. And then you come into a time and coming out of COVID, and then you see the numbers rise in crime. And then your numbers in your department are declining, as well as crime rising. It was not easy for him, but I think he did the best he could with what he had to work with.”

Moon Reynolds also spoke about what she would like to see in the next Chief of Police.

“Piggyback off of what Chief Roman has done, but I want someone, I look for someone rather, that will be more along the grassroot level. I want them to connect with the public, with the neighborhoods. I’m looking for that type of person, who will be able to go in any neighborhood and be able to talk with them, sort of like sitting at your kitchen table kind of thing, and finding out what is needed. Now, I know we all have different ideas of what is needed. How do we handle gun violence? If there was a real solution, I think someone would have came up with it. So there is no true solution. But I would like to hear from him. What is your take on gun violence? And how do you plan to go about bringing in some kind of solutions, but engaging the community and the neighborhoods as well.”