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Roanoke’s incoming police chief says transparency is key

Roman to take over on March 31, 2020

LEXINGTON, Va. – When Lexington Police Chief Sam Roman takes over as chief of the Roanoke Police Department on March 31, he’ll be walking to a place he knows pretty well.

After serving in Roanoke’s department for 25 years, he left in late 2017 after rising to deputy chief in the Star City.

“Well first let me say, you know I’ve always thought that the Roanoke team operates already at a very high-level. So I don’t see any need for a huge sweeping changes,” Roman said from his current office in Lexington.

Roman said he’s ready to listen before taking action but that he knows he wants to place a heavy emphasis on crime data.

“One thing that comes to mind is using crime analysis. To help guide us in how we police and where we police and what time we police and what are we looking for when we’re policing,” explained Roman.

When The Red Hen landed Lexington in the national spotlight after refusing service to a member of the Trump administration, Roman had to handle the law enforcement side. He said a part of being a small department means you have to handle situations by yourself.

“During my 25 years with Roanoke, often times as the assistant chief, when I yelled down the hall, there were several people there to assist me in my needs. Here in Lexington, when I yell down the hall, nothing comes back except my echo,” Roman said.

The incoming chief said he is looking forward to his new role in Roanoke even though the city is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s a number of entities that you can collaborate with. Obviously the governor’s office, obviously Virginia Department of Health. I think that collectively we come to a better solution than operating within silos. So the name of the game is collaboration. I believe that’s how we achieve success as it relates to the coronavirus,” Roman said.


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