_City News

Posted on: October 26, 2016

Police Chief tells City Council about plans for an increased focus on gun violence

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Oct. 26, 2016 - Police Chief Terry Sult addressed City Council on Wednesday night, saying that his department was standing up a gun crime task force to focus additional resources on reducing violent crimes.
Sult noted that the last time he was before Council, he was able to say that violent crimes were down year-to-date, but a recent spike has reversed that, in Hampton as well as many other communities.
Sult announced plans to shift resources and "be professionally aggressive in enforcement," targeting "those who do harm with handguns and illegal firearms."
Sult noted that outreach remains crucial: "We need to do community outreach in those neighborhoods with gun crimes and work with Neighborhood Watch and faith and community leaders. At the end of the day, some of our crimes don't get solved because people aren't talking to us."
Tips from citizens are often a key factor in leading to suspects, he said, and then crime analysis and additional police work can build a case and lead to an arrest.
He outlined a focus on:
-Better crime analysis, which may require additional technology.
-Use of overtime to add resources, while hiring and training additional officers.
-Better case preparation and closer relationships with local and federal prosecutors to gain more convictions.
City Manager Mary Bunting noted that she had asked Chief Sult to present his plan and might come back to the council with budget adjustments to support the effort. Council members indicated strong support.
Bunting noted that enhanced enforcement was just one of the city's short-term measures to reduce crime. Long-term, she said, "Solving gun violence is a community issue, a society issue" and not something the government can do alone.
Bunting noted, however, that the city was supportive of long-term measures to address the root causes by increasing prevention, especially by supporting efforts to work with at-risk youth and employment programs.

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