Audit: Richmond Police Department could improve structure

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Meg Thalhimer - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Two new audits said the police department is doing a good job of protecting the people of Richmond, but it can do better.  A consulting group needed 400 pages to analyze the operational structure of the Richmond Police Department.  The report released to City Council Tuesday looked at how RPD does business every day.

They conducted more than 100 interviews, participated in ride-along's and examined anonymous employee surveys.  The Matrix Consulting Group concluded the Richmond Police Department has many strengths including a homicide clearance rate higher than the national average and an effective community policing program.

President Richard Brady said the organizational structure could be improved.  The report suggests the current patrol schedules create redundancies and a shift could save money.  Chief Bryan Norwood, however, countered the setup is crucial to the department's success.

"A great deal of what we do is problem solving that our officers in their proactive time are solving issues in the community with their elected officials, with their community members, making a huge difference," he said.

According to the report, homicide detectives should also investigate other major violent crimes and the department needs to reduce the mounted police unit.  But Norwood said that group helped restore order after the recent violence in the Bottom.

While the department disputes some of the findings, commanders said they are considering the suggestions in order to make Richmond a safer place to live.

"We woke up one day and said we're not going to have it anymore," said Norwood.  "We're going to put these bad guys and girls away and we did."

A second report examined the department's evidence warehouse.  The city auditor suggested beefing up security.  He noted certain areas need to be monitored by cameras and they should have the ability to retain security footage longer.  It also recommends changing protocol when it comes to the weighing of confiscated narcotics.

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