Martinsville police chief reflects on legacy as he prepares to take new job

Dunn taking over as chief in Williamsburg

MARTINSVILLE – Martinsville's police chief is reflecting on his legacy as he prepares to leave to become the new chief in Williamsburg.

Since Sean Dunn became chief in 2014, violent crime has dropped 59 percent.

He credits that drop to what he calls "fully integrated community policing."

"Every member of this department is committed to community policing. Every member of this department understands their role in community policing," Dunn emphasized.

"It's gone really, really well. I think the members of the community really enjoy it and I think the members of the department really enjoy it," Dunn continued.

Part of the community policing effort has involved working with local businesses.

"The counterfeit class that gave...everything from counterfeit bills to credit cards. To have those every once and awhile, just even as a refresher or as a new technology that comes out, is very helpful," said Jeweler's Edge assistant manager Amanda Hackenberg.

Officers and even the chief himself have also taken time to walk through businesses while on patrol and get to know each of the employees personally.

Chief Dunn has also worked with local health officials to begin door-to-door campaigns to raise awareness about Zika and the opioid epidemic.

"That collaborative relationship...has been just crucial in our efforts to move forward in improving the ultimate health of our communities," said West Piedmont health director Jody Hershey.

As crucial as that collaboration is, Chief Dunn says it wouldn't have been nearly as effective if the community had not embraced it.

That embrace is why he believes the department will continue to carry on community policing and why the department's success will continue.

"I imagine (the department will) continue to be a leader in the state as it relates to community policing," said Dunn.

As of Monday, a new police chief had not been named.

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