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As a firefighter, I am sure you can understand that public safety holds a special place in my heart.  I have a comprehensive understanding of the sacrifices that the men and women that serve our community make. Aside from the firefighters, I also hold a deep appreciation and respect for public safety officers that serve a critical role in keeping our city safe. Whether you are a police officer, sheriff’s deputy, or dispatcher, you all deserve full support of our city’s administration. Their presence and ability to serve in our city and keep our citizens safe is paramount. Would it surprise you to know that for four of the last five years, Chesapeake has been above the national crime rate? What if I told you that Chesapeake is 351 square miles, with a population of approximately 239,000 people, and only has three ladder fire trucks?  To put this into perspective, our neighboring city of Suffolk is serving a population of approximately 88,000 people, with three ladder trucks. Norfolk is 95 square miles, serving an approximate population of 245,000 people, with seven ladder trucks. Virginia Beach has 497 square miles, serving an approximate population of 450,000, and has eight ladder fire trucks, and Portsmouth is 33 square miles, with an approximate population of 95,000, and has three ladder fire trucks.  In each of these comparisons, Chesapeake comes up short. Why is that? Our citizens’ well-being and the men and women who serve in public safety deserve more. Without being equipped with the tools and staffing needed, the police and fire departments cannot efficiently and safely perform their duties. Bottom line, our citizens, our police, and our firefighters are being put in danger. I want to see this changed, because I know how important it is to make sure everyone comes home from their shift. Due to our current council’s accelerated approval of growth, Chesapeake’s population has exploded over the last fifteen years, making it impossible for our public safety departments to keep up. It is imperative that as our city grows, there are plans in place to ensure that the new neighborhoods and communities do not impact the level of service that the other established communities have come to expect. In turn, the new neighborhoods need to be provided with the same public safety protection, which has always been the standard for our city.

Authorized by Levin Turner for Council
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