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Virginia Beach police officer chosen as ‘Top Cop’ for all of Hampton Roads

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - For Master Police Officer Frank Filippone, building strong relationships with the community is more important than ever.

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Master Police Officer Frank Filippone

"We are here to protect them, but the community also needs to know that we have their back," said Filippone.

He's been able to bridge the gap by letting people in the community, especially kids, see another side of him while he's on patrol.

Along with his career on the force, Filippone has spent years competing in the ring.

"Frankie the police officer kinda goes away once you bring out the championship belt and it becomes Frankie the boxer.... I show them the boxing belts and show 'em videos, fights that I've been in.  That really breaks the ice.  They can't imagine that someone can have a full time job and also be a professional fighter," said Filippone.

Not only do kids see him differently, Filippone says it makes the kids see themselves differently.

"They light up. They see that there's another avenue... [they] can do anything [they] want as long as you put hard work and dedication into it," said Filippone.

Now that he's assigned to the training command, he's hoping other officers can learn from his experiences.

"I'm trying to let them know that one positive encounter can wipe out a lot of negative, if you just take the time," said Filippone.

His passion for policing recently earned him a big honor.  Crime Line named him the 'Top Cop' for both the city of Virginia Beach and all of Hampton Roads.

When Filippone began his career, he wasn't sure if it was for him, but 13 years later he's learned it's what he's meant to do.

"If I could save one kid, that impact or that relationship means the world to me," Filippone said.