New program that could help combat crime in Danville on hold

Police Department did not receive grant to help start bike patrol program

DANVILLE, Va. – A program that could help Danville police combat crime is now on hold.

Danville Police Chief Scott Booth said Tuesday that the police department applied for a state grant for bicycles to start a bike patrol program, but the department did not receive the grant.

The program, along with monthly neighborhood walks the chief started in February after being hired, is part of the department's increased community policing effort.

"I think this would be great for this town. I've said a couple of times before, we've become too reliant on our patrol vehicles here in this department," Booth said.

He is now pursuing other funding sources for the bikes and hopes to start patrols sometime in 2019.

Another part of the department's increased community policing effort is the numerous community events being held.

One event is scheduled to take place Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at 224 Clement Avenue.

Unlike previous community events which have been primarily for kids to interact with officers and members of the Danville Sheriff's Office and Fire Department, Saturday's event is all about dialogue Booth said Tuesday.

"I look at this as kind of a listening session," Booth said.

"Sometimes, we'll have a meeting and we expect the community to come to us. this is really the first time (since I've been chief) I've actually gone into the community, on the street -- outside of our community walks -- and have folks come out and then listen to what they have to say."

Saturday's event is being held at the home of Abdul Hakim Abdullah, who Booth said approached him about the idea.

"In my limited time here in Danville, Hakim has helped me several times with some things that are going on in the community; just giving me some advice on the tone and tenor of what's going on here," Booth said.

Abdullah said he hopes a lot of adults will attend Saturday's event.

"(The Clement Avenue area) is my neighborhood. People know me, we talk all the time. So I figured if they can see the police interacting with me, sitting back on the front porch drinking lemonade, (they'll) come on up and talk to (the police," Abdullah said.

"I'm hoping more adults will get involved, as well as bring their children, but we'd like to see more adults come out and get to talk to the chief."

Booth said that if the event is successful, and believes it will be, more listening sessions will likely be held throughout the city. 

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