Top Cop shares praise

Published 9:07 pm Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Officer Josie Hall was named Suffolk’s Top Cop for this year, but she is quick to include her fellow officers, command staff and citizens in her praise.

Hall, 29, was honored last month at the Greater Hampton Roads Crime Lines banquet in Portsmouth. She has been on the Suffolk Police Department since February 2009 and previously worked as a dispatcher in another city.

Hall comes from a law enforcement family. Her dad was a police officer, and now her husband and brother-in-law are, as well.

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“It was in my family, but it was one of those things you wanted to have a career choice where you make a difference,” she said.

Hall certainly has made her mark in the Suffolk Police Department. She was honored last year by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers for her pursuit of drunk drivers. In 2015 alone, she distinguished herself with a number of newsworthy cases that resulted in arrests, recovery of stolen property and getting drugs off the streets.

But she doesn’t want to be honored alone.

“I feel like it was more of a team effort,” she said. “We work as an entire unit together. I want everyone to be able to be recognized. If it wasn’t for everyone working together, I wouldn’t have been able to be honored.”

Hall currently works midnights downtown but was working in North Suffolk in 2015. She said she enjoys the midnight shift.

“It works for my family,” she said. She and her husband have three children, ages 3, 5 and 8, who are involved in sports and Girl Scouts.

She is pursuing her master’s degree in elementary education at Liberty University. In addition to law enforcement, she has always been interested in education but isn’t currently planning a career change.

“It’s all up to God,” she said. “When that time comes, I’ll know.”

Hall’s keen eye has helped her solve several key cases that led to her nomination.

In one case in October 2015, she responded to a theft from a motor vehicle involving about $2,500 in stolen electronics. One of the electronics had a GPS tracking device, and she activated it and discovered the device was in Newport News.

“I watched the beep go up and down Jefferson (Avenue),” Hall said, referring to one of the main streets in Newport News.

She contacted Newport News, and police there responded to the location and discovered three suspects sitting in the vehicle with the stolen property. It was found the vehicle was stolen from York County.

“Not only did it help our jurisdiction, it helped Newport News, and York County recovered a stolen vehicle,” she said. Three suspects were arrested on a total of 39 charges.

Working the same rash of thefts from vehicles, Hall and other officers found a vehicle nearby with property scattered about. They knocked on the door and could smell the strong odor of marijuana. After securing a search warrant, they discovered a marijuana grow operation in the home.

Also in the home was peyote, a cactus that produces an illegal hallucinogen, and ecstasy. It was Suffolk’s first case of peyote, Hall said.

“We gained a lot of knowledge and experience on that one case,” Hall said of herself and her colleagues.

In another case, Hall responded to a call of a suspicious person lurking outside the Burger King on Bridge Road.

“We knew that morning openings and closings were starting to get targeted” at local businesses, Hall said. “It was one of those things I was in the right place at the right time.”

The man fled when Hall pulled into the parking lot, but she quickly apprehended him, and he was ultimately identified as the person of interest in several robberies in Suffolk and an adjoining city.

Hall said her eye for detail is natural but has been reinforced by her law enforcement training.

“You’re trained to kind of see outside of the box,” she said. “Don’t just think that everything is straightforward and complacent.”