The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce was honored to host Attorney General of Virginia, Mark Herring, on Monday, July 18. Attorney General Mark Herring updated local leaders in the Hampton Roads business community on the steps Virginia is taking to make the Commonwealth safer and continuing to thrive. Herring is committed to economic development stating when we build up all our regions we build the whole state and we all win. Quality of life and safety issues must be addressed for the business climate to thrive. Attorney General Herring is implementing procedures to terminate issues such as heroin, campus sexual violence, negative police and community relations, human trafficking, patent control, cyber security and many others, while also helping businesses move forward and succeed.
Jumping into the topic of public safety, Attorney General Herring said he raises awareness of public safety threats and coordinates responses to problems that cross jurisdictional boundaries and develop innovative strategies to address the problems. Touching on the matter of the rise of heroin addiction and overdose, Herring stated that over 900 people who reside in Virginia, have died of heroin overdoses in the past year. Committing to stopping the distribution and increase of heroin, the Attorney General’s office has stepped up their prosecution against traffickers, who are profiting off of addiction. The A.G.’s Office is seeking sanctions against medical professionals who are illegally putting pain medications on the street. They are also encouraging more treatment and recovering options, legislative solutions such as The Good Samaritan bill, and putting together a strong education program.
Herring said his office is transforming the way Virginia is addressing domestic and sexual violence, making Virginia the national leader in prevention and response to campus sexual violence. He assigned a task force to create recommendations on how to prevent campus sexual violence. They came up with 21 strong ideas and are now working on implementing them at colleges and universities across the Commonwealth. Goals include having people that know how to respond and investigate in a trauma informed way and creating an environment that encourages victims to come forward and report an incident of sexual violence when it happens on campus, without being treated judgmentally or with suspicion.
Police involved shootings and police community relations have been among the main focuses around the Nation not only recently, but for the past couple years. Attorney General Herring has been meeting with local minority leaders and law enforcement around Virginia to see how they have been feeling, what they have been hearing in the community, and their experiences. Many people agree on two goals: making sure law enforcement can effectively and safely protect the communities and make sure everyone is treated equally and fairly. One initiative to achieve those reachable goals is updated training. There have been 5 regional trainings around the state, train the trainer programs in which officers are taught fair and impartial policing techniques, how to recognize implicit biased, and how to de-escalate situations.
Ending on a business note, Attorney General Herring addressed some businesses issues happening in the Commonwealth. He is working very closely with Governor McAuliffe, to build a new Virginia Economy through education and economic development. He is making sure our laws are enforced evenly, fairly and consistently and working closely and collaboratively with the business community.