June 25, 2020

Virginia Beach Students Join the Police to Create Art and Enhance Community Relationship

​While the dialogue continues across the country regarding police-community relationships, a local project — nearly a year in the making — is overcoming cultural and generational divides with the art of expression. This morning, the Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) unveiled its relationship-inspired student Art Walk located outside of the 4th Precinct Command at 5152 Lobaugh Drive. This joint effort of the VBPD and Virginia Beach City Public Schools provides opportunities to enhance the relationship between law enforcement and the community, while gifting the public with masterful works of art created by Virginia Beach youth.The student artists all attended public middle and high schools within the jurisdiction of the 4th Precinct Command, which includes Brandon Middle, Larkspur Middle, Kempsville Middle, Salem Middle, Kempsville High, Green Run High, Salem High and Tallwood High School. The interested artists from each school were tasked with painting two murals that demonstrated school pride, their interpretation of what a positive police and community partnership looks like, as well as their vision of a hopeful future for all people. Each school's resource officer (SRO) encouraged open dialogue with students throughout the process to address any misconceptions and to inspire lasting relationship. That positive interaction found its way to the imagery captured on the final designs featured on the 16 murals."The presence of SROs at our schools goes beyond an added layer of protection for our kids — it provides daily opportunities for positive interaction. Through this initiative, it is our goal to strengthen relationship through dialogue between our students and the VBPD while giving our young people a platform to create artistic images that reflect that basic theme," said Deputy Chief Pat L. Gallagher.The Art Walk is now complete and ready for the public to enjoy. An unveiling event matching the level of creativity demonstrated by our student artists was scheduled for April 2020. However, plans were changed in the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The VBPD sent the students "thank you" letters and plans are underway to further honor their contributions at a later date.You may click on the following link to see a video that features The Art Walk from The Student Artist Perspective.For more information on the student Art Walk, contact Rae Pearson Benn at (757) 385-6279 or email rbenn@vbgov.com. # # #

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