Chief Scott Booth has plans for the Roanoke Police Department just after finishing his second week

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 7:06 PM EST
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) -This is the end of Chief Scott Booth’s second week and he is now locking down on the areas of the department that need the most attention at the moment.

The current main focus of the Roanoke Police Department is building trust and increasing communication within the department.

“So that’s what I wanted to tackle, first and foremost, all that other stuff is important, don’t get me wrong, but when you don’t have trust, when you don’t have communication and organization, how are you going to reduce crime? How are you going to engage your community? You can’t, you’ve got to be talking to each other,” explained Booth.

He says the solution to this is stratified policing. The police department will be receiving additional training the beginning of next year to ensure effective communication with each other.

Chief Booth thinks another big part of this is engaging with the community. He says community walks and talking directly with people in areas that need the most policing is how they plan to up that level of engagement.

“I’ve got cops and community leaders and elected officials out there walking in neighborhoods, knocking on doors and talking to people. Hey, we’re here for you, what can you tell us that you need in your community,” said Booth.

Community immersion is another tactic that he will implement. The plan is to have officers train on this early during their academy process.

“Every Roanoke officer will feel and hear and see and sense the members of their community before they get out there on the street. So you know, once again, we too, have a whole lot of things going on. But to me, community immersion is not just us being in a meeting, or cooking hot dogs, immersion is officers being in every aspect of the community and hearing from those voices, as well as being reflective of that community,” explained Booth.

All of these things are what he hopes will make Roanoke a safer place.

“A year from now, and I stand by what I said on day one. You will be in a safer community and you’ll feel like you’re in a safer community. We’re going to work hard to win the trust of our residents, and we’re going to be out there doing good stuff,” said Booth.