NORFOLK, Va. – Gov. Glenn Youngkin was joined by Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears, Att. Gen. Jason Miyares, and dozens of local elected officials and law enforcement in Norfolk as he announced a new initiative to combat the rise in crime in Virginia.
“I am announcing operation Bold Blue Line. That’s where we’re going today,” said Gov. Youngkin. “A sustained effort to comprehensively address violent crime across all communities in the Commonwealth, but particularly those that have seen this escalated violence that is ruining communities.”
The five-step initiative focuses on higher pay, recruitment, retention, prosecution, and support for victims and witnesses of violent crime.
“From 2019 to 2021, fatal shootings across the commonwealth rose by 39%. For the first seven months of this year, January to July, comparing 2019 to 2022, we are seeing a 61% growth in fatal shootings statewide,” explained Gov. Youngkin.
Statewide, law enforcement agencies are struggling to keep their officers and hire new ones. The Governor said some cities have a 40% to 60% vacancy rate and Virginia State Police are down 280 troopers.
Millions of dollars are being invested to make this happen, and the buck doesn’t stop there.
There have been 14 roundtable discussions held around the state on the subject of crime.
Operation Bold Blue Line offers a series of concrete actions to help reduce homicides, shootings, and violent crime which include:
- Supporting existing law enforcement by fixing pay and wage compression,
- Supporting new law enforcement with comprehensive recruiting efforts to attract officers from other states and develop homegrown talent,
- Bolstering law enforcement with more training and equipment,
- Ensure law enforcement is backed by prosecutors,
- Provide more resources to victims and witnesses.
Some steps officials are looking into in regard to recruitment include launching a $30 million nationwide and homegrown recruitment effort, an 8-week fast-tracked lateral training academy, hiring a full-time recruitment coordinator, increasing dual enrollment, and creating “badge and degree” programs.
“Let this be a warning to any and all who seek to further wreak havoc and senselessly engage in violent activity, stop or you will face the consequences,” said Att. Gen. Miyares.
Leaders from Bedford County, Lynchburg, Danville, and Roanoke were present at the event.