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Urbana City Council appoints new ‘progressive’ police chief

Placards of Urbana Police department memorabilia as well as their document of their 'Shared Principles'. They are displayed at the Urbana Police Department.

URBANA – More than a year since the retirement of Urbana’s police chief, the City Council unanimously appointed the only finalist, Larry Boone, as the new chief.

The appointment came after months of various interviews and community meetings and the recommendation of Mayor Diane Wolfe Marlin. 

Marlin said the city conducted online and paper surveys to gather community input. 

“We wanted to find out from the community what they wanted to see in the next police chief: what characteristics they thought were most important,” said Marlin.

Marlin said a lot of what community members wanted to see from a new police chief was also in line with what she was looking for. 

“He had that experience. He had the knowledge. He had the personality. He had the commitment to be open minded and commitment to change and he’s a very progressive chief,” said Marlin. 

New Urbana police chief Larry Boone featured in a Norfolk, VA police department Facebook video. (Norfolk Facebook)

Boone had a 33-year career in the Norfolk, Virginia police department. He spent the last six years of his tenure as the city’s police chief. Marlin says Boone’s former department is six times larger than Urbana’s. 

Marlin said that she hopes he will be able to bring his experience with Norfolk’s community engagement programs to Urbana on a smaller scale. 

“I think that also goes a long way, and ultimately, that’s what’s going to get at our levels of violence in within homes,” said Marlin.

She said that the police department being willing to collaborate with other community organizations that address mental health issues as well as housing and food insecurities are what will make a difference. 

“The police can’t do it without the community involvement,” said Marlin. “So, that’s where the building of the trust comes in.”

Marlin said Boone wants to be able to communicate effectively with the community but only to hear their concerns.

“He is pledged to be transparent to hold himself and his officers accountable,” said Marlin. “He also wants the community to recognize when people are doing good work.”

Marlin said she hopes the community will see that. 

“I would like to see the community welcome him and give him the opportunity to meet and he wants to listen,” said Marlin.

Boone will replace former police chief Bryant Seraphin who retired on March 25, 2022.

Picture of Mae Antar

Mae Antar

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