FBI Norfolk
Norfolk Public Affairs Office
August 20, 2020

Norfolk FBI Continues Community Outreach Efforts During Pandemic

The FBI needs the trust, support, and understanding of the public to carry out our core mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution. To build a bridge with our community, FBI Norfolk’s Special Agent in Charge Martin Culbreth has held routine roundtable meetings with leaders representing local faith, civil rights, and community organizations from across Hampton Roads to help open communication and provide a forum for local leaders to share concerns as well as to educate local residents about the FBI’s mission and priorities.

In spite of the restrictions to meeting in person imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, SAC Culbreth has continued to prioritize community outreach and arranged to continue meeting virtually with these important partners. “This connectively is important to us and we don’t want to lose it,” said SAC Culbreth. “Both the FBI and our community partners gain valuable insight from these opportunities when it comes to the FBI’s role in civil rights and being a part of the community.”

During a video teleconference held in late May with approximately 10 leaders representing dozens of churches, faiths, and community groups, the discussion centered on the unique challenges of underserved communities during the COVID-19 crisis, particularly keeping children safe. Participants expressed concern that the early school closures may not only cause children to fall behind academically, but may also put them at greater risk of online or physical exploitation and abuse. As one participant put it, “we want children not to just survive, but to thrive” in this environment.

As a follow up to these concerns, SAC Culbreth hosted a youth round table in June to connect with emerging young leaders from around the region to hear their viewpoints and concerns, and discuss current events, social media, and more. Many of the 30 high school and college-age participants who joined the meeting are interested in a future career with the FBI, and SAC Culbreth encouraged them to share their thoughts about what motivates them. “Recruiting the next generation is a huge part of today’s FBI mission,” he said. “There is a future for you in the FBI and we want to hear what makes you interested in joining us.”

SAC Culbreth has additional video teleconferences planned to continue these conversations. To apply to join the roundtable as representative of your faith, civil rights, or community organization, contact Norfolk Community Outreach Specialist Vanessa Torres at vbtorres@fbi.gov.