Richmond Police Chief to faith leaders: we need your help - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond Police Chief to faith leaders: we need your help

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Richmond's top cop tells us he is launching a fight against domestic violence, and he is asking for help from area faith leaders.

The moves comes after a dramatic police standoff over the weekend in Richmond. Police believe a man fatally shot his girlfriend and then took his own life after a gunfight with officers.

The chief held a private breakfast with at least 50 faith leaders and sent an official email asking for their assistance.

"Domestic violence is the leading cause of crime in our city at this time," said Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic. "We need your help to bring education and awareness to your area of expertise."

The Richmond Police Department answered 14,000 domestic calls in 2012. This year there are already 400 simple assaults and 35 aggravated assaults on the books. The chief says there were 20 aggravated assaults at this time last year.

"Domestic violence is a scourge on our community," noted Chief Tarasovic as he reached out to faith leaders. "I want to enlist their assistance both short term and long term in what we consider a fight against domestic violence."

Youth leaders and pastors spoke out on Praise 104.7 Thursday. They talked about the chief's desire to declare April 27-28, 2013 a domestic violence proclamation weekend.

"Most of them are going to preach on it on April 28th," said Chief Tarasovic. "And we are going to continue with ongoing activity."

It is an extension of a previous administration policy that encouraged faith leaders and police to walk the most notorious neighborhoods to tackle the murder rate.

"I think it's a great idea," said Tarasovic. "I'm trying to embrace that idea, but expand upon that idea. So we are engaging our faith leaders in this effort to reduce the amount of domestic violence that occurs in this city."

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