Virginia Beach police chief discusses role of citizens advisory committees

Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera, at center, is seen during an awards ceremony hosted by the Rotary Club of Cape Henry on Wednesday, March 15. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

COURTHOUSE – Sometimes good things can evolve from bad things, Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said on Tuesday, April 4, during a meeting of the First Precinct Citizens Advisory Committee at the municipal center.

Cervera said the citizens advisory committees directly address the importance the department placed on community relationships following rioting and looting during Greekfest in 1989, which led to the creation of the city’s human rights commission.

“We learned a lot of things about policing and we learned a lot of things about community,” Cervera said.

The committees are a direct line of communication between citizens and public safety representatives.

“This is where the action occurs,” he said.

Cervera also discussed staffing in the department, including efforts to recruit and how 10 new positions will be used to beef up community policing efforts in Western Bayside.

Additionally, 10 positions are intended to augment efforts in Green Run, which splits the first and fourth precincts, as well as the Holland Road area, according to the chief.

Cervera addressed Capt. David Squires, commanding officer of the First Precinct, to demonstrate how the precincts will coordinate to address community issues.

“If something happens in Green Run, Captain, well, who owns the problem?” Cervera asked.

“We all do, Chief,” Squires replied.

“Even though they’re working under two commands, they’re going to work together to solve problems,” Cervera said.

Citizens advisory committees are made up of representatives from neighborhoods and businesses within the respective precincts, according to the department. 

During monthly meetings, representatives of public safety departments, the commonwealth’s attorney and other governmental services are available to interact with the citizens they serve.

In the First Precinct, which contains much of the coverage area for The Independent News, monthly meetings are held at 7 p.m., first Tuesdays, generally at Building 19, 2424 Courthouse Drive — though the Tuesday, May 2, meeting is scheduled to be held at Landstown Community Church, 3220 Monet Drive. 

The 7 p.m. meeting will be preceded by a potluck and networking session that begins at 6 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.

For more information on the First Precinct Citizens Advisory Committee, email

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