The Richmond Police Department has won two highly competitive grant awards from the Department of Justice, one to provide additional body-worn cameras to Richmond police officers, and another for the hiring of five additional officers for the department.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the first African-American woman to hold the post, recently visited Richmond on her national tour aimed at highlighting positive police practices and restoring trust of law enforcement in communities. During her public comments, Lynch highlighted the Richmond Police Department’s early adoption of body-worn cameras, which went into effect this winter; training on implicit bias; and programs such as Operation Ceasefire, which addresses gun violence by bringing together police, probation officers, and community groups. “It’s clear to me that Richmond is working toward a holistic and comprehensive approach to criminal justice that is more than just an arrest but is trying to identify many of the causes that lead people to connect with the criminal justice system in the first place,” Lynch said.
Use of cameras worn on officer uniforms has the potential of enhancing transparency, accountability and credibility. Richmond received $150,000 to expand its body-worn camera program to all officers in the department. Richmond provided a matching amount of $150,000 to the federal award. Grant recipients must develop policies that address when the cameras are turned on, how videos are stored and what can be done to balance privacy considerations with public access to the huge quantity of footage that will be collected. They will also be expected to keep statistics to assess the effectiveness of cameras during the two-year grant period.
Richmond also received an award of $625,000 per year from the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program for three years for the hiring of five additional officers for the Richmond Police Department.
Richmond continues to receive national recognition as a model of successful community and police relations. GPG is proud to have provided support to the Richmond Police Department in their pursuit of these grants, along with supporting resource development for Richmond’s Ceasefire program and other violence prevention efforts in the city of Richmond.