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SERWAN ZANGANA: Success of New City Police Chief Will Be Measured By Violent Crime Reduction

     There will be a new Police Chief in town soon; Scott Booth will take the lead of the Roanoke City Police Department as he was hired by the Roanoke City Manager. This comes after the Roanoke City government rewarded former Police Chief Sam Roman to become a second Assistant City Manager, a position created for him with a higher paycheck than his previous position! He left the Department, the officers, the continuous violence, and the streets of Roanoke behind. On July of this year he started his new position. However, does Roanoke need two Assistant City Managers?

     Scott Booth will assume duties as the Roanoke City Police Chief after his last day as Danville Police Chief on October 31. He will take over the City of crimes and homicides, which is unfortunately a typical Roanoke City situation. Chief Booth will be inheriting an environment of violence in Roanoke and a mess that the former Police Chief left when he stepped aside from it. It is obvious that the City’s officials are lacking any solutions, and yet the citizens of Roanoke are suffering and caught up between the Roanoke City politics and the violence crimes.

     Obviously, As Danville Police Chief, Booth’s accomplishment has been noticed in improving that City’s safety situation. He effectively reduced crimes there from the highest point in 2017 to a 35-year low in year 2020 (WFXR), and cleaned up the City from various gangs and violent crimes. Therefore, Mr. Booth deserves credit for such accomplishments in Danville as he also deserves a chance in Roanoke City. Indeed, he is a hope for the Roanoke community.

     It was not a puzzle that Roanoke City was in need of an effective police chief who can put aside politics and being “buddy” with the rest of the officials and instead focus on the core issue. Perhaps City Manager Bob Cowell did not realize he admitted that our former Police Chief was a failure when he said: “the residents and business owners in Roanoke made it clear that the city needed a police chief with a proven record of community engagement, strong leadership, and crime reduction.” (WFXR). Very true, Mr. Cowell, all Roanokers needed a strong police chief who is a true leader in the community.

     The role of law enforcement is more crucial now than ever in today’s society as police officers are the targets of criminals, some powerful politicians, and social media. Drawing a negative image of law enforcement officers has alienated them from society and created a gap between them and the citizens.

     Definitely, Chief Booth is stepping into a deep morass of violence in Roanoke, which needs many more efforts to dry it up. The issue is stretching further than what it appears. Roanoke’s homicides are the highest since 1970 (WSLS10 News) and the number is of course increasing.

     As a new Chief, Booth’s success will be determined by reducing violent crimes in Roanoke. This depends on separating his political affiliation, not politicizing the City government, and recognizing that there are cultural crises and problems which promote violence and must be changed.

– Serwan Zangana supported Operation Iraqi Freedom as a U.S Army translator before coming to the U.S from Kurdistan, Iraq in 1997 to seek political asylum. He was granted asylum status and years later proudly became a U.S citizen. He currently serves as a correction officer in Roanoke.
Updated 1-15-2024

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