HOPEWELL, VA (WWBT) - Hopewell's Police Department has been plagued with problems in recent years. Now, it has a new leader in charge and he's vowing to make some changes.
Chief John Keohane outlined his vision for the city. He's looking to make changes inside the department.
"I do believe there is a morale problem that I need to deal with," said Keohane.
The city's top cop also wants to make changes outside of the department.
"To be responsive to the community - have good focus and really hold all of our stakeholders accountable whether it's with the citizens, this department, or other city agencies," said Keohane.
The chief acknowledges the department has had it's problems including drugs, money, and guns disappearing from the evidence room.
"Yes, we're still dealing with those issues that happened years ago but I want to say that things have been done to make sure that problem doesn't exists," said Keohane.
His predecessor, Steve Martin, resigned after a public feud with the commonwealth's attorney. Friction Keohane says he'll work to avoid.
"I feel I have a knack for building relationships," said Keohane.
He plans on holding command walks in an effort to get-to-know residents. Dorothy Flowers is concerned about crime. A family member was shot multiple times last night in the city.
"The crime -- to many people are getting hurt then you got all of these kids running around here," said Flowers.
Lifelong resident, Robert Traylor, is hoping for longevity. Keohane is the city's fifth police chief in five years -- when you include interim chiefs.
"That's a very strong concern and I hope this one will last longer and become part of the community," said Traylor.
Keohane says he's up for the challenge. Many community members we spoke with say they've had a chance to meet the chief and that they're optimistic about his role in the city.
Keohane brings 27 years of police experience to Hopewell. He beat out 82 other applicants for the position.