Police chief says new technology will help detectives in Hopewell

Longtime Hopewell resident: 'I think people are angry… They are tired of being afraid'
Hopwell Police
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 27, 2023

HOPEWELL Va. — Just five days since a violent crime task force was announced to try to curb violence, Hopewell's chief of police says the program is already seeing results.

Longtime Hopewell resident Melissa Taylor said people in the city are ready for a change.

“I think people are angry… They want to get their city back," Taylor said. "They are tired of being afraid.”

For Taylor, a turning point on police reducing crime came Thursday night when she attended a city-wide Neighborhood Watch meeting.

“I feel more confident,” she said. “It helps that he explained exactly what their mission was, what they plan to do.”

Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke and CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil
Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke and CBS 6 Senior Reporter Wayne Covil

Part of that meeting involved Hopewell Police Chief A.J. Starke talking about new technology that will help officers more quickly analyze shell casings recovered at crime scenes.

“Currently we have to send those shell casings off to be tested and it can take months to get results back,” Starke explained.

The State Attorney General’s Office is changing that next week.

“So this technology that is coming to Hopewell will give us the ability to analyze those shell casings on the spot and give results,” Starke said.

That will let police know if the gun used was also used in another crime.

The city will also get stationary cameras and cameras mounted on police cars within the next ten days.

“This technology will give our officers and detectives information that we’ve not had available before,” Starke said.

IN-DETH COVERAGE: How Hopewell deputies hope to curb escalating gun violence

Hopwell Police
Hopewell Police

The chief is also working to have 15 Neighborhood Watch programs formed across the city.

While some results may take time, the Violent Crime Task Force announced Monday has already seen results with multiple guns taken off the street.

In fact, task force members made a stop Thursday night and found 4 ounces of crack cocaine, 20 grams of heroin, more than $2700 and a Glock 31 handgun.

Hopwell Police
Hopewell Police

“What we do know is that gun will not be used in a homicide,” Starke said. “That gun will not be used to terrorize this community.”

The chief also said there has been a change to the department's pursuit policy as well.

Melissa Taylor
Melissa Taylor

Taylor said she is reassured by the new measures and has faith in the chief.

“He [Starke] wants to be the change in this town and I feel confident he can do that,” she said.

Starke said the department is currently down eleven officers, but that the task force is helping to make up for that.

Additionally, the chief said his office is now getting more calls and tips than in recent months because he believes neighbors are tired of the crime.

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