The future is bright at the Leesburg Police Department, which last week presented the Town Council with its newest strategic plan and got the ball rolling on design for its expanded headquarters.
Police Chief Gregory Brown presented a summary of the department’s updated strategic plan to council members May 28. It’s the first update of the plan since 2011, and the first done under Brown’s leadership since he became the head of the department in 2016. The chief encouraged council members to hold the department accountable in meeting the goals laid out in the 43-page plan.
The five-year plan centers around six major goals: building trust and legitimacy; policy and oversight; technology and social media; community policing and crime reduction; training and education; and officer safety and wellness. It’s an “ever-evolving document,” Brown said, which can be updated as priorities and circumstances change.
The end goal is to establish the agency as a leader in 21st century policing, and make sure there is community support and buy-in in achieving all its goals, Brown said. The chief also said he wants the department to continue to be a “proactive, rather than reactive” department with community engagement and outreach. One of the ways the department hopes to do that is through its social media platforms, he said. Brown also encourages his officers to not only keep up with their physical health, but also to seek out higher education opportunities or areas where they can address training deficiencies.
The need for larger Plaza Street headquarters to keep up with the growth of the department has been stressed for years, and last week the council formally got the ball rolling. Council members voted to award a design and engineering services contract to Dewberry Architects, for an amount not to exceed $1.27 million. Design work is expected to be completed in late 2020, and construction on the addition is scheduled to begin in early 2021, with anticipated completion in mid-2022.
The current headquarters building was constructed in 1997 when the town’s population was 24,000 and the department’s total staff stood at 58. Since then, the town’s population has more than doubled, and the department now has 101 employees.