RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Coalition of Police posted a billboard Wednesday complaining of pay, low staff and claims the city’s safety is “in a crisis.”
8News spoke with Brendan Leavy, RCOP president on Tuesday. He said, “the city has failed to address public safety compensation while the surrounding localities take care of their employees.”
Leavy said the billboard will be posted near the Arthur Ashe Boulevard exit from I-95S and I-64E.
Henrico and Chesterfield County recently voted for pay increases for police officials.
City council did not adopt the RCOP’s proposed pay structure during the budget process, which proposed restructuring the 25-year pay plan to 20 years.
However, they did approve a two-step increase in the upcoming fiscal year budget.
82 police officers have separated from the Richmond Police Department between April 2020 and April 2021, according to a spokesperson.
51 officers resigned during that time–a year full of sustained pressure on the department in the wake of protest and riot after the death of George Floyd.
Leavy said the restructured pay plan would allow for increased pay in a shorter amount of time, and would be competitive with other local police departments.
Mayor Levar Stoney questioned RCOP’s decision to post the billboard, saying “tactics like this, it’s just kind of bush league.”
Stoney said restructuring the pay plan, as proposed with a $4.4 million price tag, could not be accommodated during the 2021-2022 budget process.
“For this organization [RCOP] to spring a new pay plan during a pandemic, when the city is in a financial crisis doesn’t make a lot of sense. They could have been a little more strategic in their timing, we could have talked about this two years ago, it was never brought up,” Stoney said.
The Richmond Police Department did not respond in time for this story’s publication.
Leavy suggested the low staffing proves problematic for a rising crime rate.
City data indicates violent crime rose 18 percent from last year, however it shows a decrease property crime by 22 percent.