RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney implored citizens, prosecutors and judges to take action in helping the city's police department stem a spike in violent crime.
Mayor Stoney and Police Chief Alfred Durham discussed the increase following a promotion ceremony Friday morning.
"Nine homicides are nine too many. I don't care if it's January or it's December," said Stoney. "We need prosecutors to push for tough sentences for the most violent offenders and judges to hold the line and keep them off our streets. And we need the community, whether they sit on juries or are witnessing this in their neighborhoods to step up."
Durham says vigilant detective work is just not enough. Neighbors, including victims, need to come forward with tips, because in a majority of these shootings, the people involved know each other.
"The prosecutors and police officers can't solve these crimes by themselves. I say this day in and day out, because I like to stress that this is not just a one-man show," said Stoney.
"As you all know, I shoot straight from the heart, and I'm not making excuses, But we can only do so much… So much is being put on the police today, and it's not fair," continued Durham.
Durham says even some victims aren't cooperating, rather looking to get justice on the street, which can lead to more retaliation. Detectives have made arrests in three of the city's nine homicides so far this year, announcing arrests in two January homicides at the event. However, Durham says more police still need to be hired, even after last year's addition of 40 officers- especially school resource officers.
Durham noted an increase in neighborhood gang violence, starting at a young age.
"All these young kids in the school that want to be part of a group or a gang," described Durham. "You got folks partnering with other neighborhoods to join a coalition… to take on another neighborhood."
More high-tech equipment is also key, like neighborhood cameras, gunshot detection systems that notify police, and even more traffic cameras, according to the chief.
"That frees our officers up to do the real policing, being proactive and engaging the community, and taking the bad people off the street," explained Durham.
Stoney did not discuss the Thursday administration shake-up, in which he removed several of former Mayor Jones' appointees.
Stoney announced interim appointments for the Department of Public Works, the Fire Chief and the Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Human Services. He also removed the head of the Department of Human Resources, effective Friday.
The city confirms three have taken severance, but one did not. Former Fire Chief Robert Creecy, former Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Human Services Debra Gardner and former Director of Human Resources Johnny McLean will all receive severance pay:
Creecy - severance $35,776.76; salary $143,107
Gardner - severance $43,026.75; salary $172,107
McLean - severance $37,638; salary $150,552
Former Public Works Director Emmanuel O. Adediran did not take severance pay. Adediran's salary was $132,600.
Friday's media conference followed the promotion of nine Richmond Police officers to the ranks lieutenant and sergeant.
The officers being promoted to the rank of lieutenant are:
- Richard Edwards
- Kelly O’Connell
Being promoted to the rank of sergeant are:
- Victoria Griffith-Matko
- James Hogan
- Erica Maine
- Cynthia Marlowe
- Anthony McRae
- Jonathan Nathanson
- Anthony Paciello
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