Richmond Police Chief talks about first year on the job - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Richmond Police Chief talks about first year on the job

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Friday marked one year since Ray Tarasovic took over as Richmond's Police Chief.

In 2013, during most of which Tarasovic was leading RPD, crime overall went down, including in the categories of homicides, aggravated assaults and burglaries. But the transition was not without drama. While Tarasovic says he did not feel any turmoil when he came on, sources say the police veteran had a lot to overcome to get to this point.

When Mayor Dwight Jones announced Bryan Norwood was out and Ray Tarasovic would be the new chief, not everyone was convinced. A tight knit group of community faith leaders, who Norwood brought into work with the department, feared their progress would be undone.

"We thought it would have been negative in a tremendous way," Pastor Alex Boyd said. "We thought it would have been a tremendous setback for the city."

About a year after that transition, Boyd maintains they were wrong.

"It's been awesome," he explained. "Chief Tarasovic has worked with us 1000%."

Boyd says you can feel the group's impact on the streets in Richmond communities like Hillside Court and other housing projects. He believes they've been able to get residents more involved than they ever had been before.

Chief Tarasovic believes the change is being seen by the public.

"I think they see us as goal driven," said Chief Tarasovic. "I think they see us as engaging. I'm not saying that we weren't engaging before, but we have an emphasis on engagement in the community."

The Chief says the things he's most proud of, are also the things you can expect him to focus on in the year to come.

"Our partnerships -- making them stronger, our intensity -- making it even more intense, and our crime reduction -- the ability to see a problem and engage it quickly and solve it," Tarasovic listed.

Despite having more on his "to do" list, Tarasovic believes Richmonders should feel safer now than they did a year ago.

As for Bryan Norwood, he is now one of five finalists for the position of Police Chief in Columbia, South Carolina.

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