During a year-end press conference, Police Chief Steve Drew announced that overall crime in Newport News decreased by 14% in 2020 and the department’s 2020 clearance rates surpass the national average. Chief Drew credited the reduction in crime to the dedicated men and women, both sworn and civilian, who make up the Newport News Police Department (NNPD), as well as citizens who are engaged in addressing crime in their neighborhoods and throughout the city.
Chief Drew began the press conference by reflecting on the difficulties the department and city faced last year. On January 23, 2020, Officer Katherine “Katie” Thyne was killed in the line of duty. After this tremendous loss, the NNPD had to modify their operations due to the pandemic, while also addressing the social unrest taking place around the country. Chief Drew thanked NNPD officers and employees for their professionalism and dedication to serving the citizens of Newport News.
During his presentation, Chief Drew highlighted the department’s key successes in 2020, including:
- establishing the new Domestic Violence Awareness Program;
- fully staffing the 911 Call Center for the first time in 30 years;
- creating a 21st Century Policing series for community awareness (watch the full series on the NNPD Facebook page);
- establishing trainings in implicit bias and how to positively engage with individuals with autism;
- launching a “Women Leading in Law” series (enjoy all of the profiles on the NNPD YouTube page);
- and much more.
The NNPD’s primary focus in 2021 includes continuing to address domestic violence, implementing additional training on de-escalation, focusing on how officers respond to people with mental health issues, outreach to youth and growing the Young Adult Police Commission, and the expanded use of technology throughout the department.
View the entire press conference on the NNPD YouTube page.
Sister cities Newport News Invites You to Celebrate the Chinese New Years
Sister Cities Newport News is bringing in 2021 with quarterly seminars and lectures for the community. The first happens on Wednesday, February 10 at 7 p.m. via Zoom with speaker Xin Ma of Christopher Newport University (CNU) who will present a special lecture on the traditions and trends surrounding Chinese New Year. This lecture is in partnership with William & Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI).
The Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is an annual holiday that falls on different days each year according to the cycle of the lunar calendar. This the upcoming year is the Year of the Ox. Join them as they discuss and exploring the exciting activities and customs that accompany this special holiday. For event access and to learn more, visit the Sister Cities Newport News website.
NNFD Selected to participate in National Community Risk Reduction Pilot Program
The Newport News Fire Department has been selected by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to participate in the second phase of a pilot program to build a digital community risk assessment (CRA) tool. The tool, or “dashboard,” enables community leaders to gain valuable insights and make data-informed decisions around fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities in their communities. As one of only 250 fire departments nationwide chosen to participate in this phase, NNFD has free access to the dashboard, which includes customized visualizations (maps, charts, graphs) that illustrate each community’s risks and hazards across a variety of categories such as demographics, geography, building stock, economics, infrastructure and event loss history. The dashboard also provides a snapshot of local capacity for risk reduction activities with information about public safety response agencies and community service organizations. The first phase of the pilot project, which included participation from 50 fire departments across the country, helped identify features of the digital dashboard that will work effectively and those that need fine-tuning. During the second phase of the program, the NNFD will provide feedback around the use of dashboard to help continue refining and enhancing the digital tool. “We are excited to be participating in this important project,” said Robert Lee, Assistant Fire Chief of Community Risk Reduction for the Newport New Fire Department. “Not only will access to the tool give us invaluable information about our community’s needs, but it’s rewarding to know that using the tool will increase its effectiveness and help other fire departments in the long run.” For more information about NFPA’s community risk reduction efforts, visit www.nfpa.org/crr.