'Honesty, transparency': Richmond residents name essential qualities for new police chief

RICHMOND, Va, (WRIC) --  Before a new Richmond Police chief can be sworn in, the city is holding community town hall meetings seeking input from citizens. 

On Wednesday, residents living in the city's East End named the qualities they are looking for in their next chief. 

"We want them to respect other people," said Happiness Dance Studios owner Felicia Manns. "Understand other people. Engage with other people. People that don't look like you. In all demographics in this entire city."

Residents were asked what the new chief's goals should be during the first year, actions the new chief should avoid and the qualities they should exhibit during their term:

  • Some of the first year goals listed during the session include:
  • Creating open conversations with communities, faith-based leaders, business owners. 
  • Complete training trauma-informed crisis intervention training. 
  • Hire additional police officers. 
  • Visit Richmond Trail of Enslaved Africans
  • Release to the public philosophy on policing
  • Continue to publically release use of force and civilian complaints data including geographic and demographic information. 
  • Use a new record management system to publically release information on pedestrian contact and traffic stops. 

Actions the new chief should avoid:

  • Treating young people as adults
  • Ignoring people's First Amendments rights of free speech and assembly
  • Referring to a suspect with a derogatory name. 
  • Dismissing the community's call for an investigation like the case of Marcus David Peters
  • Defending the behavior of an officer first before an investigation. Defending a suspect or officer before receiving all the facts.
  • Showing insensitivity when dealing with the public
  • Neglecting youth programs
  • Not fulfilling promises
  • Isolating the community

What the community is looking for in a new chief:

  • Innovation
  • Advocating for the community and police department
  • Effective listening
  • Resourcefulness
  • Honesty
  • Transparency
  • Open and receptive to constructive criticism
  • Commitment to learning about the Richmond community
  • Root out bad officers
  • Actively seek out grants
  • Kindness
  • Dedication
  • Respectfulness
  • Courageous 

The final community meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 21, at 1:30 pm at the First Baptist Church on Monument Avenue. 

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