Urbana’s police chief aims to address school safety, youth violence and community work in new role | #schoolsaftey

URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — Urbana’s new police chief is getting to work and is ready to connect with everyone in his new home.

Larry Boone, the new chief, was sworn into office at the beginning of August. On Wednesday, he met with community members and journalists.

He covered a lot of ground and talked about things like why he wanted to be a police officer, how he plans to address school safety, staffing within the department and youth violence.

Boone grew up in New Brunswick, N.J. He said at that time, the community didn’t have a good relationship with the police.

“We knew that when PD came into our community, somebody was going to jail,” Boone said.

Fast forward a few years and he was playing football at Georgia Southern University.

“My senior year, during a game, I happened to get up from the ground and I looked over there in the corner and I saw this African American police officer,” he said. “I had never seen one in my life.”

At that moment, Boone knew what he wanted to do. He joined the police department in Norfolk, Va. Over his 33-year law enforcement career, he climbed the ranks and retired as the Chief of Police there in 2022. He served as chief for about five and a half years.

His retirement didn’t last long. He’s now the chief in Urbana.

Boone knows there is work to do, starting with the youth and a new way to track gun violence data in a similar way they did while in Virginia.

“We know what happened over the weekend and we know what’s developing in a timely fashion,” he said.

WCIA also asked him about school safety, especially after multiple threats at Urbana Schools last fall. His goal is thorough investigations and quick arrests.

“My message to the parents of Urbana is that they have my word that I will do everything in my power to ensure that their loved ones are safe,” Boone said.

When reporters asked about staffing, he said he recognizes there is a police shortage across the nation. To fix the problem, he said he’s rolling out a new plan in a couple of weeks. But first, he wants to present it to the city council, the city manager and the mayor.

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