Former RRHA police officers speaks out - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Former RRHA police officers speaks out

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

A former Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) officer had some strong words about the abrupt closure of the police department Tuesday. For the very first time he's opening up about the way in which he and others suddenly lost their jobs after years of service.

Former Officer Emmanuel Spann had been with RRHA Police from the very beginning. He says the way things went down with the closure of the department was a betrayal and wants the public to know the officers' side of the story.

Spann feels RRHA leaders showed their true colors in closing the police department without any notice.

"How do you do that to the people you claim when we have our agency meeting that we're the best employees, we're family, but this is how you treat us," he wondered.

The almost-ten-year department veteran has given the situation a lot of thought since he walked out of agency headquarters a month ago unable to talk to us. Spann is breaking his silence now because he's decided not to sign the severance package and confidentiality agreement.

He described a conversation with Chief Executive Officer Adrienne Gooslby last fall after Chief Hal Hazelton was fired without public explanation.

"Several officers asked about our job status, would we still have a job, do we need to go look for one," Spann recalled. "And her comment to us was our budget for 2013-2014 has been approved and it's good until October. Your jobs are secure and safe."

Everything changed the day NBC12 broke the story about the department shutdown. That day, the message came from the human resources director, not Goolsby herself.

"I felt disrespected," Spann explained. "I mean, because if you were going to close it down as the director of the agency you couldn't come into the conference room at 901 and sit down with us and tell us directly that we were out of a job?"

Now, officers like Spann are left reflecting on a change of heart at an agency to which they dedicated years of their life.

"I think it's being run sheisty," he added. "They're quick to tell everybody one thing but then they turn around and do something else."

An RRHA spokesperson sent a statement, which reads, "RRHA does not comment on personnel matters. The agency remains appreciative of the service of its former police officers."

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