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Richmond, Henrico Police holding meetings with faith community to address safety, ongoing opioid crisis

The Richmond Police Department and Henrico Police are both hosting some safety and awareness forums for religious gathering places in the wake of the recent violence in Sutherland Springs, as well as a conversation surrounding the response to the ongoing opioid crisis.

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Twenty-six churchgoers were killed at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas a little over a week ago. Legislators on both a national and state level have offered little in the way of stopping this type of horrible crime from re-occurring.

Local police are turning their focus to increased security at local places of worship and are offering a forum to hopefully increase safety.

From RPD:

Mosques, churches, synagogues and all places of worship should be havens from the chaos of life. Safety is paramount and adopting a few simple procedures can dramatically increase the security of these sanctuaries and help to protect the people within and the surrounding property.

The Richmond Police Department will be hosting a safety and awareness forum for religious gathering places. The forum will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. A variety of topics will be discussed, including general safety, preparing for an emergency, firearms in places of worship and pastoral protection.

The forum will be held at the Richmond Police Department Training Academy, 1202 W. Graham Road. For further questions please contact Officer Kimberly Cheatham-McClarin at 646-6754.

For its part, Henrico Police are holding a similar session of their ongoing Faith Community Coalition series to address the recent violence as well as the ongoing opioid crisis.

From Henrico Police:

Chief Humberto I. Cardounel, Jr. cordially invites you to attend our November learning session for the Henrico Police Faith Community Coalition. The meeting will take place Thursday, November 16th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM at the Henrico County Villa Park Station, located at 7850 Villa Park Drive. We will be discussing security for places of worship and the response to the opioid epidemic. No RSVP is required. We look forward to seeing you there.

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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City to provide grants to businesses damaged during recent civil unrest

“Though many protests have been peaceful, sporadic nights of severe property damage have hurt our small business community,” said Mayor Stoney. “These grants will help those establishments get back on their feet and send a message to the owners and employees of those businesses that they’re heard, they’re valued and we’re in this together.”

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The City of Richmond has recommended that City Council allocate $500,000 to create the Business Recovery Grant Program. Under this new, one-time program, grants will be awarded to eligible local businesses, non-profit organizations, and commercial property owners to recover costs from damage during recent demonstrations within city limits.

“Though many protests have been peaceful, sporadic nights of severe property damage have hurt our small business community,” said Mayor Stoney. “These grants will help those establishments get back on their feet and send a message to the owners and employees of those businesses that they’re heard, they’re valued and we’re in this together.”

The grants will be a reimbursement of expenses paid to repair property destruction during the recent civil unrest.  This could include window repair, graffiti removal and more. The maximum grant award is $10,000 for a single commercial property address.

The city’s Commercial Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) Program is the proposed funding source for the one-time grant program. The normal CARE Program grants will not be impacted by the creation of the one-time grant program.

If funding for the Business Recovery Grant Program is approved during the August 10, 2020 City Council meeting, the program guidelines will be posted on the city website and applications can be submitted electronically starting August 13.

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City introduces ordinance to prohibit firearms adjacent to events requiring permitting

Currently, the code bans firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. The newly introduced ordinance would also prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit. 

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At the August 10 meeting of the Richmond City Council, the Stoney administration introduced an ordinance to modify current Richmond City Code section 19-334.1; Carrying Firearms in Certain Places.

Currently, the code bans firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. The newly introduced ordinance would also prohibit the possession, carrying, or transportation of any firearms in any public street, road, alley, sidewalk, public right-of-way, or any open public space when it is being used by, or is adjacent to, an event that requires a city permit.

This ordinance does not broadly ban firearms in these public spaces. Rather, it bans firearms when a permitted event, or an event that should be permitted, is taking place.

The expansion to the existing ordinance is intended to promote the health and safety of event attendees and city residents as a whole.

“The City of Richmond proudly hosts hundreds of public events each year, but I believe it’s in the interest of everyone’s safety to take guns out of these spaces when neighbors, visitors and families gather,” said Mayor Stoney. “Under this proposed change, Richmond residents will be able to attend public events with a greater sense of security, knowing that the city is actively prioritizing their safety.”

In 2019, the mayor introduced the ordinance that prohibits the carrying of firearms in city-owned and -operated parks and facilities. As soon as the General Assembly adopted legislation granting that authority to localities, the ordinance went into effect.

This most recent proposed change is also made possible by a recent amendment by the Virginia General Assembly to the Code of Virginia, which now authorizes localities to prohibit firearms in this instance.

“As a city, we must exhaust all possible options to reduce gun violence in our communities and neighborhoods,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m thankful the state has finally given us a vital tool in building a safer Richmond.”

The proposed ordinance, which must be approved by Richmond City Council to take effect, does not apply to authorized military personnel in the performance of their lawful duties, law enforcement officers or security guards contracted or employed by the City of Richmond.

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Richmond Police seeking public’s help in locating missing child in alleged parental abduction

The Richmond Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing child, Kamill Jones, 2, whose mother is wanted for parental abduction.

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The Richmond Police Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a missing child, Kamill Jones, 2, whose mother is wanted for parental abduction.

Erica Jones, 26, was last seen on July 16 in the 1100 block of Cypress Street when she picked up the child from family members. She was due to return Kamill to family members on July 18 but has not returned. Erica Jones does not have legal custody of Kamill Jones. They may still be in the area. Photos of mother and daughter are attached.

Erica Jones is approximately 5’ 3” and weighs about 200 pounds.

Anyone with information on Erica Jones or Kamill Jones is asked to call Detective J. Hewitt at (804) 646-6870 or contact Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or at www.crimestoppersrichmondvirginia.com.

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