For Immediate Release
July 16, 2020
Contact: Laura Snideman, City Manager
City of Richmond Appoints New Police Chief
July 16, 2020 – The City of Richmond announced today the appointment of Bisa French as the City’s new Chief of Police. Ms. French, a 22-year veteran of the Richmond Police Department (RPD), has been serving as the Interim Police Chief since September, 2019. Her appointment to the permanent position will be effective on August 1.
Chief French has spent her entire law enforcement career as a member of the RPD, starting as a Police Officer in 1998. Since then, she has risen through the ranks to hold numerous positions here including Detective, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and Assistant Chief of Police, before assuming the role of Interim Chief. As the head of the RPD, Chief French commands a 250-member police department with an annual budget of approximately $70 million.
“I’m delighted to appoint Bisa French, and gratified that our Police Chief is someone of such high quality, impeccable character, and unparalleled local experience,” said Richmond City Manager Laura Snideman. “In addition to her outstanding law enforcement qualifications, she’s someone who really knows the people, the issues, and the values and needs of the Richmond community.”
With a constant focus on the concept of community policing, Chief French’s leadership, mentoring, and guidance throughout the RPD has helped move the department forward, particularly in the areas of technology, social media, training, and community partnerships.
“I’m thrilled to be given this incredible opportunity to continue leading the efforts of the Richmond Police Department,” said Chief French. “At this juncture in our nation’s history, the role of law enforcement is evolving rapidly. It’s particularly important right now to honestly maintain a culture of excellence, trust, and transparency, in partnership with our community. I’m proud that the people in our department and our City are committed to these values, which will guide my continuing leadership of the RPD.”
Chief French’s many accomplishments as a leader in the RPD include: creating a multi-disciplinary team to strategize on how best to serve the mentally ill; implementing a process for officers to receive Crisis Intervention Training; spearheading development of the Family Justice Center; managing the Mental Health Evaluation Team pilot project in which an officer and a mental health operative work together in engaging the mentally ill in crisis; overseeing the implementation of RPD’s body camera program; restructuring the RPD chain of command for sergeants and lieutenants to increase accountability; serving on the Contra Costa County Police Chief’s Association’s Racial Justice Task Force, resulting in recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors on ways to minimize disparities within the justice system.
Chief French lives in Richmond, and is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Latino Police Officers Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Police Executive Research Forum, and serves on the Board (Chair) of the Family Justice Center.
For more information about the City of Richmond, its programs, services, community, amenities, and history, please visit ci.richmond.ca.us.