Richmond Coalition of Police asks Chief Smith to resign

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 12:09 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 16, 2021 at 11:17 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Coalition of Police (RCOP) is asking Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith to resign as results from their recent anonymous survey show a majority of their members have lost confidence in Smith’s ability to lead the department.

On Thursday, board members went over their four data points of concern from the 261 responses they received below:

  • 96 percent say they have lost confidence in Chief Gerald Smith’s ability to lead.
  • 99 percent say morale has not improved under Chief Gerald Smith.
  • 89 percent say they don’t feel valued as an officer.
  • 82 percent are considering leaving the department prior to retirement.

“The rank and file members of RCOP has lost the trust and confidence in the current chief’s ability to effectively lead our department,” said Carl Scott, vice president of RCOP. “We have ascertained that the officers have left and are considering leaving our department due to pay and the lack of ability to lead by Chief Gerald Smith.”

On Dec. 7, RCOP told NBC12 there were over 100 vacancies at the department and over 70 people on extended leave. Board members believe they won’t be able to fill these vacancies and improve morale within their department unless leadership changes.

“We’re looking for the next chief to restore faith and trust within the police department and take us forward in the right direction,” said Brendan Leavy, president of RCOP.

RCOP said if Chief Gerald Smith doesn’t resign himself, they’ll call on Mayor Levar Stoney and Lincoln Saunders, the city’s chief administrative officer, to remove him.

However, Stoney isn’t playing ball and has full confidence in Chief Smith.

“It seems to me as another cockamamie tactic by a group of people, a minority group of people, who seek to unionize the Richmond Police Department,” he said.

Stoney’s focus remains on how to improve the department and pay for officers.

“We want to enhance the compensation and salary of our police officers,” he said. “We want to put more officers on the street, and we obviously want to enhance our recruitment efforts as well.”

NBC12 also reached out to the Richmond Police Department for comment. A spokesperson recommended contacting Saunders, the city’s CAO, for comment regarding RCOP’s statements.

Earlier in the day, NBC12 sent an email to Saunders. A spokesperson for the mayor replied with a statement saying, “The Mayor and the CAO have full confidence in Chief Smith.”

Rewatch the press conference here or below:

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