Mayor Stoney announces members of city task force to Reimagine Public Safety

Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 3:31 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced on Friday the members who will make up the city’s Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety.

“This isn’t about talk, it’s to develop a plan of action we can develop as soon as possible,” Stoney said.

Stoney presented the members of the task force in City Council Chambers Friday.

“This task force can help determine where the city can explore complementary legislation and where we need to focus advocacy as a community to make statewide change really happen,” Stoney said.

Stoney has charged this group to review the police departments’ use of force policies, explore an approach to public safety in a human services aspect and to engage the community.

Mayor Stoney originally wanted an initial report within 90 days of the task force’s first meeting but says these issues can’t wait. Stoney now wants it within 45 days.

“My main goal here is accountability,” Task Force Member Triston Harris said.

Harris was one of about 20 people selected for the group. The committee is made up of community leaders, educators, first responders and healthcare workers all aimed at moving the city forward.

“The fact that we come from the side that really isn’t on the police side, we want to bring forth real change,” Harris said.

Harris recently organized Richmond’s 5,000 Man March in June and says his main goal is to bring change.

“I’m optimistic about change. The task force in itself is just a body of people coming together to try to figure out a solution. I will be more optimistic when we sit down and the work actually begins,” Harris said.

“I think this is a tremendous opportunity to take this city forward. I think this is great,” task force member Bill Pantele said.

The group consists of a mix of views and expertise such as former city council member and current attorney, Bill Pantele.

“There are certain functions that we now give to police that I think we shouldn’t give to the police,” Pantele said.

Pantele has a long history of working with the police coalition and says morale within the police department remains low.

“To have change at the very top three times and during that time period, it’s a challenge,” Pantele said.

Stoney said they are still working to figure out when and how often the task force meets. The meetings and the final report will be available to the public.

This task force is separate from the police civilian review board and a group to work on the “Marcus Alert,” in which the Mayor said are in the works.

Members of the task force include:

  • Sergeant Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
  • Ram Bhagat, Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for RPS
  • Glenwood Burley, retired RPD officer
  • Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team
  • Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development
  • Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker
  • Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism
  • Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia
  • Councilman Mike Jones
  • Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District
  • Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team
  • Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth Attorney
  • Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church
  • Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VUU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child
  • Sergeant Brad Nixon, RPD
  • Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond
  • Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member
  • Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing
  • Councilwoman Ellen Robertson
  • Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center
  • Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership
  • Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers
  • Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns
  • Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

Regarding community healing and engagement, the mayor said that the task force will allow the city to explore methods of engagement that will enable meaningful change, using his support for the Virginia Black Legislative Caucus’ legislative package as an example.

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” Mayor Stoney said. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The Mayor’s Office is working with the Office of Community Wealth Building’s Community Ambassadors to identify additional community members, including youth, to be part of the task force’s important work and to assist with community engagement.

The task force is committed to a transparent process and will make meeting minutes available to the public.

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