Clark Palmer

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Michael Crawley

From Roanoke City Police Department: Chief Booth is pleased to announce the hiring of the Roanoke Police Department’s newest Deputy Chief, Michael “Mike” Crawley. Deputy Chief joins the Roanoke Police Department after a nearly 25-year tenure with the Salem Police Department, from which he retired at the rank of Chief.


“Deputy Chief Crawley grew up in Roanoke, and he knows this community well,” said Roanoke Chief Scott Booth. “His education, tenure of service, and commitment to public safety speaks for itself. I am confident that he will be a great asset to us and a leader at the Roanoke Police Department.”


“I am truly fortunate to join the ranks amongst the women and men of the Roanoke Police Department,” said Deputy Chief Crawley. “Being able to serve the citizens of the City of Roanoke in this capacity is an honor as it will allow me to give back to those who provided so much to me and my family over the years.”


Deputy Chief Crawley will begin working at RPD in late July of 2024. You can review his bio below:


“Mike Crawley began his law enforcement with the Town of Vinton Police Department in August 1996 graduating from Cardinal Criminal Academy in November the same year. During his time at Vinton Police Department he held the position of Patrol Officer, Detective, and Patrol Sergeant. Crawley left his position with Vinton Police Department and obtained employment with the Salem Police Department in December 1999 as a Patrol Officer.


“Crawley was promoted to the rank of Senior Police Officer and transferred to Salem’s Detective Division in 2004 where he was assigned to the Special Investigation Unit. In 2006, Crawley was transferred to General Investigator where he rose to the rank of Sergeant in that Division.


“He later served as the Services Division Sergeant handling the central supply and support component of the Department. He returned to the Patrol Division in 2014 before being promoted to the rank of Deputy Chief. He was named Salem’s Department Chief on February 1, 2016. After more than eight years as Chief of Police, Crawley retired from the City of Salem June 1, 2024. At the time of his retirement he was an active member of the International Chiefs of Police, Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police, National Association of Black Law Enforcement Officers, in addition to Blue Ridge Chiefs of Police.


“A Roanoke City native, Chief Crawley graduated from Patrick Henry High School in 1991 and later attended Virginia Western Community College. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Bluefield College where he majored in Management and a graduate from the prestigious F.B.I. National Academy Class #271. He is also a member of Shiloh Baptist Church.”


President Joe Biden won the Virginia vote over Donald Trump by 10.2% in 2020 – when many pundits said as The Commonwealth goes so goes the nation – and they were right. But the latest Roanoke College poll now shows a tie at 42 percent for Biden and Trump. More details from WFIR’s Gene Marrano:

(from RC release) President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are tied (42%-42%) in a head-to-head matchup in Virginia, while Biden holds a two-point lead (40%-38%) when other candidates are included, according to the Roanoke College Poll. The Institute for Policy and Opinion Research (IPOR) at Roanoke College interviewed 711 likely voters in Virginia between May 12 and May 21, 2024. The survey has a weighted margin of error of 4.24%.

2024 General Election

Although only 2% of likely voters say they are undecided at this early point in the campaign, another 14% (two-way) to 20% (five-way) say they will vote for a candidate other than Biden
or Trump (Kennedy 8%; Stein 3%; West 1%; Other 8%). This is the first time the Roanoke College Poll has shown the candidates tied, although the polls in February 2024 and November 2023 showed them within the margin of error.

Two-thirds (64%) of likely voters are very certain of their vote choice, and another 28% are somewhat certain. Just over half (52%) are very enthusiastic about voting, and another 27%
are somewhat enthusiastic. Still, one in five are either not too (14%) or not at all (7%) enthusiastic. The economy dominates among the most important issues, being cited by 44% of respondents. Immigration (14%) and abortion (13%) were chosen more frequently
than foreign affairs (8%) and crime (5%).

A majority of likely voters (63%) think that Biden legitimately won the election in 2020, but one-third (34%) say he won because of election irregularities. Nearly three-fourths (73%)
think that Trump legitimately won in 2016, but 21% think he won because he colluded with Russians. As expected, partisans see those elections differently with 94% of Republicans saying Trump won legitimately, compared to 53% of Democrats, while 91% of Democrats
say Biden won legitimately, while only 29% of Republicans agree.

There is concern for potential violent protests regardless of who wins the presidency in November. Although more are concerned about potentially violent protests by Trump supporters
if Biden wins (36% very concerned; 31% somewhat concerned), there is also concern about violent protests by Biden supporters if Trump wins (19% very concerned; 29% somewhat concerned). Democrats were much more concerned about Trump supporters’ reactions (54%
very concerned; 30% somewhat concerned), while Republicans were about equally concerned regardless of who wins.

Respondents are more likely to view the Trump years as mostly good for the country (44% mostly good; 33% mostly bad), and they see the Biden years more negatively (25% mostly good; 47%
mostly bad). Republicans are very enthusiastic about the Trump years (87% see them as mostly good), while half (50%) of Democrats think of Biden’s years as mostly good. About equal numbers of likely voters think Biden and Trump mostly tell the truth and mean
what they say (37% for each) rather than just saying things to get elected (59% for Biden; 58% for Trump).

Job Approval, Favorable/Unfavorable, and Directions of Virginia and Nation

Evaluations of the direction of the country and the commonwealth are mostly unchanged since February and are similar over several years. A small majority (53%) thinks that Virginia is
headed in the right direction, while 70% think the country is on the wrong track. Job approval for President Biden (35%), Gov. Glenn Youngkin (52%), and Congress (19%) are likewise barely changed from February. Biden’s 61% disapproval rating ties his all-time
Roanoke College Poll disapproval high from February. Youngkin’s ratings have been steady for a year, while Congress continues to inch its way back up to approval near 20%.

Favorability ratings for federal officials and institutions generally continue in negative numbers with Donald Trump (36% favorable/57% unfavorable) and Joe Biden (36% favorable/58%
unfavorable) leading in the wrong way. The U.S. Supreme Court fares slightly better with 44% favorable and 48% unfavorable. U.S. Senator Tim Kaine breaks the underwater trend with 43% favorable and 39% unfavorable, but those ratings are lower than the last
time he ran for reelection. Youngkin’s ratings remain steady (49% favorable/40% unfavorable), continuing a long-term trend of Virginians holding more positive views of governors (Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative).

Regarding the events of Jan. 6, 2021, a plurality of respondents (44%) think it was an insurrection. Another 30% see it as a riot, similar to other riots, and 22% view it as a mostly
peaceful protest where a few people became violent. In comparison, 14% of those polled see the social justice protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in 2020 as insurrections, while 51% think they were riots, and 22% view them as mostly peaceful protests.

Except for the direction of Virginia, each of these ratings are the result of major perception gaps between Democrats and Republicans. Overall, Democrats think the country is headed
in the right direction, approve of the job being done by Biden, disapprove of Youngkin’s performance, and are negative regarding Congress. Republicans are the opposite of each, other than being even more negative toward Congress. The same is true for favorability
ratings of public figures and the Supreme Court. Independents are typically between the two, sometimes closer to Republicans and sometimes closer to Democrats.

Political Anxiety

IPOR continues to track political anxiety in the commonwealth, which tends to remain more stable overall, while anxiety waxes and wanes among partisans as their party is in or out of
power. The overall index of 94.84 is down from its all-time high of 121.15 in November 2023, mostly because of a decrease in anxiety among Democrats.


Jason Miyares

RICHMOND, Va. – Attorney General Jason Miyares today joined the Department of Justice and a bipartisan 30-state coalition in filing a lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Ticketmaster LLC, for violating antitrust laws through a range of anticompetitive practices in an effort to control the live entertainment industry.


“Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s stronghold over the live entertainment industry has harmed artists, venues, and small businesses, leaving consumers with less choice and exorbitant fees,” said Attorney General Miyares. “Virginia consumers and businesses deserve a free marketplace for products, services, and ideas – and breaking up Ticketmaster and Live Nation will allow for competition and innovation to return to the live entertainment industry.”


The lawsuit alleges that Live Nation and Ticketmaster illegally obtained and preserved their monopoly power in much of the live entertainment industry through control of ticketing and venues. Ticketmaster is the largest primary ticketing company in the country, multiple times the size of its closest competitor, and Live Nation owns or controls a substantial number of venues.


The coalition alleges that Live Nation has maintained its anticompetitive monopoly in ticketing markets by locking up venues through restrictive long-term, exclusive agreements and threats that venues will lose access to Live Nation-controlled tours and artists if they sign with a rival ticketer. The coalition further alleges that Live Nation leverages its extensive network of amphitheaters to force artists to select Live Nation as a promoter instead of its rivals, maintaining its promotions monopoly. As a result, Live Nation’s conduct has harmed fans through higher fees, lack of transparency, fewer consumer choices, and stifling innovation. In addition to a divestiture of Ticketmaster, the lawsuit seeks civil penalties for Virginia and other relief.


Virginia is joined in this lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, by the U.S. Department of Justice, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


An organizer of an upcoming Pro-Palestinian benefit concert says the Roanoke community has rallied to help two families impacted by violence in Gaza. WFIR’s Clark Palmer has that story.

Proceeds from a Pro Palestinian benefit concert in Roanoke this weekend will go to families who have lost relatives during the war in Gaza. More from WFIR’s Clark Palmer.


Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell

Statement from Roanoke City: The City of Roanoke announced the departure of its City Manager, Bob Cowell, who has served the City for nearly seven years. His departure is effective June 7, 2024.

We appreciate Mr. Cowell’s service to the City, its employees, and look forward to what the future holds for both Bob and the City of Roanoke.

Beginning June 8, Mayor Lea will serve as interim city manager. The Mayor will be meeting with the assistant city managers to ensure continuity and accountability in our city. City Council has engaged a national search firm to identify an acting city manager who will be named soon. The same firm will work with City Council to develop a process for hiring a new city manager.

Roanoke is an All-America City and we remain committed to improving the quality of life for all of our citizens of Roanoke and all who visit our Star City.


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