New RPD Chief: 'I'm going to the jails'

New RPD Chief: 'I'm going to the jails'

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There is a new Richmond Police Chief in town. Chief Alfred Durham is spending his first week walking through area neighborhoods. He is also unveiling his 100 day plan.

Chief Durham is a marine veteran. His name is pronounced Dur-Ham because that is how his drill instructor chose to say it in boot camp.

"So the drill instructor says Dur-ham," recalled Chief Durham. "So I step out... do my right face....walk up to the drill instructor... and I said, Sir, my name is Durham. And he says listen here you little 'expletive.' What's your name?"

"Dur-ham, Sir," replied Durham. "So it has been Dur-ham ever since."

The chief has a good sense of humor, and he has a pretty good work ethic, too. He's unveiling his 100 day plan. It calls for police foot patrols in neighborhoods across RVA.

"You get to know people," said Durham. "It becomes personal."

The plan also calls for a wellness campaign with a biggest loser style 90-day police competition.

"If they are not healthy they are not at work," said Durham. "If they are not at work they can't go out here and police and interact with the community."

The chief is even rolling out what is being called the "Blue Light Special."

A select number of marked police vehicles will display two solid blue LED lights on the front and the rear of the light bar. The chief says the display of permanent lights on police vehicles will ensure that all citizens and visitors of the city see a police presence that has already been in place.

He says a public information message will notify residents of this change. You will not have to pull over and stop when you see a police vehicle with two solid blue lights behind you.

"People have talked about the blue lights being a distraction," said Chief Durham. "But I'm here to tell you it's not a distraction. It's visibility."

The chief says he is also planning to visit area inmates. He has a simple message.

"I need you to stop doing the foolishness out here...stop committing crimes and get your life together," said Durham. "I'm going to the jails."

Durham just retired from the DC police department after 27 years. Policing is personal for him.

"In June of 2005 I received a phone call, about 10 o'clock at night, telling me that my brother had been murdered," said a visibly emotional Chief Durham. "As I prepared for his funeral I made a vow to myself. As long as I am in a leadership position...to deploy the right sources...to talk to young people...to talk to those offenders out there. I may not be able to stop someone from pulling the trigger, but I've done my part."

The chief will also hold 4 townhall meetings next month. We'll let you know when dates are announced for those public meetings.

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