RICHMOND (KPIX 5) — A recent independent audit levels some tough new criticism against the Richmond Police Department. The audit says that the department has no clear vision and lacks a strategy for fighting crime.
The 15-page report paints a picture of a police department with “no direction” and “devastatingly low morale.”
Listed below are some excerpts from the report:
- “A comprehensive strategy does not exist to challenge the conditions that contribute to crime and disorder in Richmond.”
- “There is no compelling, articulated vision for the Richmond Police Department.”
- “There exists strong belief that the command staff is apathetic, unaccountable.”
A survey found that 97% of officers within the department said that morale was “poor” or not the concern of the administration.
Richmond Police spokesman Lt. Matt Stonebraker says Richmond Police Chief Alwynn Brown welcomes the criticism and has plans to address it.
“It’s fair criticism and the chief accepts that,” said Stonebraker.
KPIX 5 asked Stonebraker why the morale figure was so low.
“It’s not clear at this time. I know the chief is willing to sit at the table with everybody involved to make this a better organization,” he said.
Richmond mayor Tom Butt says that Chief Brown, two and a half years into his tenure, may still be adjusting after stepping into the role left behind when Richmond’s popular former police chief Chris Magnus left the force.
“Maybe things just didn’t get back on track, or maybe there wasn’t the same level of standards and internal organization that Chris put together,” said Butt.
Antwon Cloird, a community organizer who works closely with the department, defended them, but he admitted that Richmond police could work on connecting with everyday people in the city.
“They got to start walking these beats. And when you do that, then the community feels more that you’re engaged,” said Cloird.