Safety concerns after police officers moved to training camp - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Safety concerns after police officers moved to training camp

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There are growing concerns that having Redskins training camp in Richmond is compromising the public safety and the people who protect the city.

Calls from police sources and the Fraternal Order of Police surround one issue how the police department is staffing posts at the Redskins training camp.

Police are here to serve and protect. They walk the streets, investigate crime and respond to 911 calls, but with the Redskins in town now officers have new tasks.

Most of those at camp are not working off-duty or overtime, but their regular shifts. The Fraternal Order of Police says that brings safety concerns not only for the officers themselves, who now have less backup on the streets, but also for the public.

"Even though it's their work day, pull them say out of second precinct or third precinct then the communities in those precincts are not being covered manpower-wise as much as they would be if you had a full contingent," said David Martin of the FOP.

We've learned major crimes detectives are being pulled. That includes homicide, aggravated assault and forensics, along with people in specialized units like gang, property crimes and street crimes.

NBC12 took the concerns straight to Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.

"I think it's neither a danger to the city nor a danger to our officers," he said. "I think it's a plus for the city."

Tarasovic says the department has pulled from multiple areas and units to lessen the whole impact. He also explains he continually checks the numbers. There were 35 fewer crimes in the city last week when the 'Skins first came compared to the week before when there was no training camp.

"Calls for service are being responded to in the same fashion that they always have," he added. "I have done checks on that. We have sufficient manpower on the streets and if need be we will provide more."

We also checked into who is footing the bill. Tarasovic says the money to pay the officers at camp comes out of his budget, but the Redskins are actually paying for the off-duty cops who are providing security for them.

There is also some question about how training camp compares to security at other large Richmond events like the marathon or Flying Squirrels games. We've learned those are staffed by off-duty and overtime officers and usually paid for by the event organizers.

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