RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – Virginia Commonwealth University police could soon be breaking up house parties in Richmond’s Oregon Hill and Randolph neighborhoods.
City Council will consider a proposal to let the city attorney ask a Richmond judge to allow VCU police to expand its authority to the neighborhoods, the only ones surrounding the university not already in the department’s jurisdiction.
“Well, it’s just an expansion of VCU’s core campus,” Police Chief Rick Edwards told the city’s Public Safety Standing Committee Tuesday.
Edwards made it clear that Richmond police would “still be the primary law enforcement agency if something serious happens” in the areas but that it would let VCU police handle “house parties, loud music calls on their own.”
Amy Robins, the liaison for 5th City Councilwoman Stephanie Lynch, told the panel Tuesday that the neighborhood associations and both police departments back the plan. Edwards said it would allow Richmond police to focus on more pressing concerns.
“Both communities enjoy the life that VCU students bring to the neighborhood, however, at times they can be a bit too lively,” Lynch wrote to Edwards in November 2022, when he was still the city’s interim police chief.
In her letter, Lynch noted that expanding VCU police’s juridical authority would help address concerns from students, faculty and staffers who live in the neighborhoods and have complained over fraternities, sororities and others that have hosted “parties, concerts, and fireworks shows that have led to fights, fires and guns being fired.”
No members of the public spoke on the proposal during Tuesday’s Public Safety Standing Committee meeting, which was held at 1 p.m. and lasted a little more than 15 minutes.
The proposal seems all but certain to pass after all three members of the public safety committee asked to be added as co-patrons before moving it forward to the full council with a recommendation for approval.
In total, five of the nine Richmond City Council members are sponsoring the measure. The ordinance is set to be heard by the council on Nov. 13.