ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — The Roanoke Police Department (RPD) is continuing the fight against violence. It held its first “community walk” with Chief Scott Booth on Friday, Nov. 17 going door to door talking with citizens and asking them what they need from the police to make their communities safer.
Chief Booth says building relationships with the community helps them to build trust in the police. He says he wants to show people that the department is there to help them during good times and bad.
“The majority of crime, especially violent crime, is solved through cooperation with the community, they have to trust us, and they have to want to talk to us when an incident occurs,” said Chief Booth.
Chief Booth added that he utilized community walks while he served as chief of police in Danville. During his time there, he helped significantly reduce violent crime.
“You can have community policing, you can build relationships, and you can still be focused on reducing crimes and arresting offenders that would do our communities harm,” said Chief Booth.
Citizens and Community agencies also showed their support at the walk this morning. One community member, Perry “Ace” Taylor, told WFXR News that he believes this is a step in the right direction.
“Actually, I’m impressed, I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen this proactively done by the police here, and I’m from here,” said Taylor.
Taylor says many of the people he talked to seemed impressed too. He shares with WFXR what some community members told him.
“We need more patrols, we need to see you and be a little more visible, and when you see my kids, we would love for you to stop and speak with them and maybe play a little ball with them or throw a ball with them, and they’re just they’re looking for the police, they actually seemed like they wanted it once they met them and talked to them,” said Taylor.
He says he is hopeful this initiative will help reduce the violence.
Chief Booth says he hopes to hold these walks every month and plans to go to different neighborhoods across Roanoke.