Federal authorities tour Petersburg after police chief requests more crime-fighting tools

Federal authorities tour Petersburg after police chief requests more crime-fighting tools

PETERSBURG, Va. (WWBT) - The U.S. Attorney spent Wednesday in Petersburg visiting hotspots for crime after the police chief called for more help from federal enforcement.

"What keeps me awake at night? Safety,” Petersburg Police Chief Kenneth Miller said.

Especially following a violent couple of weeks. Six shootings in as many days. So far, there have been two arrests.

Now Miller is strengthening his partnership with the FBI, Homeland Security, and the ATF. The man who helps connect those dots is the U.S. Attorney.

"We have finite resources. We can’t do this everywhere. We’ve made a commitment that Petersburg is an area that we want to partner with,” U.S. Attorney Zach Terwilliger said.

His office covers Northern Virginia to Richmond to Virginia Beach. Right now, his focus is Petersburg.

"Today, we spent about three hours driving around Petersburg, going to see some of the hardest hit areas. Seeing areas that frankly were riddled with bullets, seeing folks who are struggling, who it’s not safe for their kids to go out and play. I needed to see that firsthand so I knew exactly what we’re up against,” he added.

Terwilliger says it’s not about doing the job for Petersburg Police, it’s about working with them to keep you safe.

“Your local officers and detectives, they know what’s happening on the street. They’re going to be able to tell us ‘Hey, that’s a house where drugs are being dealt. Hey, that’s an issue where we’ve had problems. These are the two groups that are beefing back and forth’,” the U.S. Attorney said.

The goal is preventing violence but laying down the law when it happens.

"Reducing the fear of crime. That’s very important to me,” Miller said.

At the end of the month, Petersburg will host an anti-violence forum. The public is invited to join federal authorities, local police and even former criminals and victims to discuss turning things around. The day-long event will be held at the Good Shepherd Baptist Church beginning at 9 a.m. on Sept. 30. Petersburg Police will announce more details soon.

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