RPD Chief talks closure of RRHA Police Department - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

RPD Chief talks closure of RRHA Police Department

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

One day after the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority closed its police department, the Richmond Police chief is speaking out about what his officers will do to keep those communities safe.

Chief Ray Tarasovic said his department has always been responsible for the people in Richmond's housing projects. He saw RRHA Police as an addition, not substitute for what his people do.

Citizens who live in some of Richmond's most crime-ridden neighborhoods aren't taking this latest RRHA news lightly. Officers they've come to know have lost their jobs.

"Maybe it'll get worse, because then everybody knows they're not over here now," said Gilpin Court resident Shamecca May.

Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic offered an assurance Tuesday.

"We are working hard," he said. "Crime is down. Crime is down in public housing. We will continue to drive those numbers down."

In fact, he maintains he doesn't expect any significant changes.

"The truth is there was not a significant presence in the Richmond Redevelopment Housing Authority Police Department," he explained. "It was a small unit."

Tarasovic clarifies he didn't take RRHA officers into consideration when making schedules or assigning resources. Tarasovic says he doesn't know yet if citizens in the housing authority properties will see an increased presence.

"I manage resources dependent upon need," said Tarasovic. "There are many ways to allocate resources. Sometimes it's overtime, sometimes it's the movement of personnel, sometimes it's the change of shift."

Now the question becomes how much taxpayer money will it take to do this. Sources say one idea is using the money that went to the RRHA Police Department and transferring it to RPD.

"There's the potential discussion of dollars and the movement of dollars but nothing's been finalized," Tarasovic added.

Some have also wondered if this could put extra strain on RPD officers, who have voiced concerns about already being short-staffed. Tarasovic believes the 28 officers in the current academy class should help that.

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