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Gov. Youngkin announces law enforcement support initiative in Norfolk

Photo by Laura Philion. Governor Glenn Youngkin announces Operation Bold Blue Line.
Photo by Laura Philion. Governor Glenn Youngkin announces Operation Bold Blue Line.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a new violent crime initiative focused on supporting Virginia law enforcement.

“That thin blue line is getting far too thin,” Youngkin said at a press conference. “Therefore today, I am announcing Operation Bold Blue Line.”

Youngkin made the announcement in Norfolk, where the police department could lose 77 officers by the year’s end and a string of high-profile deadly shootings has city leaders talking about adopting tougher crime prevention tactics.

Operation Bold Blue Line has five prongs intended to curb the violent crime rate in Virginia:

1. Increase law enforcement pay and fix pay compression issues.

“We owe it to you to ensure that your career in protecting our families does not mean that you cannot afford to raise your own family,” Youngkin told law enforcement officers.

2. Invest $30 million in a national recruitment campaign, with special emphasis in states Youngkin said are anti-cop.

“(We will) bring in sworn law enforcement heroes from other states, especially those that do not support law enforcement,” Youngkin said. “They want to come here … and as we recruit these law enforcement heroes, we will get them on the street right away, with our new fast-tracked eight-week lateral training course.”

Most police departments have their own academies in place already. It’s unclear if the eight-week course would replace those.

Youngkin also wants the state to create dual enrollment opportunities to funnel high school students into law enforcement and find ways to get more sworn officers in existing community college programs.

3. Speed up a $75 million investment in training and equipment. 

Youngkin didn’t say whether this was new spending, or specify what equipment or training would be covered by this funding.

4. Support prosecutors willing to convict for violent crime. 

“We will hire more prosecutors that are willing and able to put violent offenders behind bars and keep them there,” Youngkin said.

Youngkin’s administration, particularly Attorney General Jason Miyares, have butted heads with progressive Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Miyares has signaledhe wants to renew his effort to expand the Attorney General’s power to take over local investigations.

Commonwealth's Attorneys are elected by individual localities in Virginia.

5. Increase support for victims of and witnesses to violent crime and forge community partnerships.

In a press release, Youngkin's office said Operation Bold Blue Line would require funding from the General Assembly for a stronger victim and witness protection program. It would provide funding to house, relocate and otherwise protect victims and witnesses.

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