On June 30, 2020, Richmond City Council heard Item I-1 to direct staff to prepare a plan to transition from Richmond's current "community policing" model to a plan conducive to the reduced police force and return to Council with the preferred policing model and a plan for implementation by the end of Fiscal Year 2020/2021. Following discussion on the item, the City Council directed staff to “create a transition accountability task force composed by members of the public, including community organizations, individuals who were impacted by law enforcement, and law enforcement.”
The City Council appointed twenty-one members to the Reimagining Public Safety Community Task Force on October 6, 2020. View the list of all Reimagining Public Safety Community Task Force members.
The Task Force has completed its work and will soon report its recommendations to the City Council, which include additional funding for (Safe Organized Spaces –SOS (a homeless services program), Office of Neighborhood Safety (ONS), and a Community Crisis Response Program (mental health), reducing the police department budget by $8,349,939 to be reallocated to these other programs. This would reduce the already thinly stretched police department by some 32 officers and have a drastic effect on the ability of the Richmond Police Department to respond to calls for service, patrol neighborhoods and solve crimes.
Ironically, all this started with the George Floyd killing on May 25, 2020, followed by a nationwide clamor to defund, or at least rethink police and public safety. On April 21, 2021, slightly less than a year later, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges for killing George Floyd.
I would be interested in hearing from you whether you believe the proposed reduction in Richmond Police funding will make Richmond safer or more dangerous.