By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Almost two years after being named the Police Chief of Hampton, the City of Norfolk has hired Mark Talbot as its top cop.
Norfolk scheduled its official announcement of its choice of Hampton Chief of Police Talbot to lead the Norfolk Police Department (NPD) for April 5 by Norfolk City Manager Chip Filer and other city officials.
Talbot, 51, was hired a year to the day of former Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone’s exodus from the NPD’s top job.
Boone said he retired but reliable sources in the city government said he was terminated due to his inability to effectively address a rash of deadly shootings in the city.
After Boone left, Michael Goldsmith, who was Deputy City Manager at the time, was named interim Chief.
Several days before Talbot was named, Goldsmith formally announced his retirement from city service, effective April 14. This signaled that Norfolk had ended the national and local search and hiring of a new chief which began early last summer.
There were 25 qualified candidates at the beginning of the search. Several weeks before Chief Talbot was named, the city said it had narrowed its search to three candidates, but never released their names.
City leadership had asked for public input ahead of the selection. During the process, candidates were asked to answer a series of questions on topics including policing equity; community-based violence intervention and prevention; their respective approaches to recruitment, selection, and retention of a qualified and diverse workforce; and how they identify with the Norfolk Police Department’s guiding principles.
The New Journal and Guide received a reliable tip on the selection of Talbot on April 3.
The GUIDE sent text messages to city officials seeking to verify it; however, the City Manager and other officials remained silent until Thursday’s press conference.
Talbot will be the fourth Police Chief Norfolk has hired since 1993. Except for Goldsmith, he will be the third African-American male to be hired for the post.
The late Melvin High was named the city’s first Black Police Chief in 1993.
Then Bruce Marquis was hired in 2004 followed by Larry Boone in 2016 and now Talbot.
Talbot will assume command of a department that has 652 sworn officers. The city and NPD leaders have been seeking to address a shortage in officers and staffing.
Before he arrived in Hampton, Talbot previously served as chief of police in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership from Penn State University. He is also a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police, the Police Executive Development Institute at Penn State University, and the Criminal Justice Leadership Institute at the University of Delaware.