Norfolk’s “Clergy Patrol” bridges gap between community and police

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NORFOLK, Va. - A new partnership between church and police is easing tension in the community.

"There are some communities across the country, that don’t trust the police. By partnering with some of our clergy members, it give us the credibility that we wouldn’t have without them," explained Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone.

Chief Boone began the Clergy Patrol in 2017 after taking over the role of chief.

"I knew I would be meeting with the local churches soon. I have seen them meet with the former Chief. I knew that the question would come up, 'Hey Chief we support you; what can we do to help you?'"

Chief Boone says he asked the churches to help by having members of their congregation participate in a program called "The Clergy Patrol," which is modeled off of the city's ride along program.

Between 8 p.m. and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, a member of The Clergy Patrol is partnered up with a police officer. Together, they respond to calls for help.

"When you consider the line of work that we do and the type of calls that we respond to day in and day out, a lot of times the people are a victim, it's their worst day," said Chief Boone. "They may have these preconceived notions about the police and when they see the clergy patrol they may settle down."

According to Chief Boone, a calm environment ensures everyone's safety and helps investigations move forward, while also building confidence between the community and police.

"It opens the individual up to share information and while we are there it shows that the clergy has a good rapport with our officers," said Chief Boone.

If you are a member of the Norfolk clergy community and wish to work in partnership with the Norfolk Police Clergy Patrol, call (757) 390-1954.