Roanoke community invited to meet finalist for new Star City police chief

Danville Police Chief Scott Booth has been named a finalist

ROANOKE, Va. – On Wednesday, the Roanoke community has the chance to meet the finalist for the Star City’s new police chief

Danville Police Chief Scott Booth has been named a finalist.

At one point, Danville had Virginia’s highest homicide rate per capita. But since Booth took charge five years ago, he’s managed to significantly cut down on gang and gun-related crimes, both of which are huge problems in Roanoke.

As Danville’s chief, Booth also utilizes technology to investigate gun-related crimes, which helped earn him a national award earlier this summer for reducing gang-related crime.

Booth credits his success to the Danville Police Department’s use of technology, community engagement and a community policing model.

10 News followed Danville’s success. Booth says no one would talk to police when he first got there to give them tips. Now, Booth says police get tips all the time.

This is what Booth told us recently about his philosophy as chief:

“I’m very passionate about reducing violence. I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years now [in] a couple of different places. And to me, for law enforcement not to put [an] all-hands-on-deck approach to reducing gun violence, then we’re really not doing our job,” said Booth. “We should be doing everything we can to save lives in our community. And, part of that is quickly identifying those suspects that have caused harm and finding justice for those families and limiting that retaliation. I think we have to do that. That’s our job.”

Wednesday night’s event will offer the opportunity for community members to meet Chief Booth, talk to him and share thoughts with elected Roanoke City officials and administrative leadership.

10 News spoke with Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea who is a Danville native. He said he thinks Booth’s proven track record of engaging the community could help the Star City.

“That’s one of his strengths,” said Lea. “We’ve here [in Roanoke] had a tradition of not talking to police officers. As a matter of fact, people withdraw from talking. And that hinders us from what we’re trying to do in solving a lot of these crimes.”

That meeting is Wednesday from 6 -7:30 p.m. at the Berglund Center’s Berglund Hall of Fame.


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