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Mayor Stoney appoints interim Richmond Police Chief William Smith to permanent post

Chief Smith, 51, began his law enforcement career with RPD in 1995 and has risen through the ranks of the department over a 24-year career. Since January 1, he has served as Interim Chief of Department following the retirement of former RPD Chief Alfred Durham.

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Mayor Levar M. Stoney on Wednesday announced the appointment of Richmond Police Department Interim Chief William C. Smith to become the next chief of the department.

Chief Smith, 51, began his law enforcement career with RPD in 1995 and has risen through the ranks of the department over a 24-year career. Since January 1, he has served as Interim Chief of Department following the retirement of former RPD Chief Alfred Durham. He is the 18th chief to lead the Richmond Police Department and is the first chief to be promoted internally since 1967.

“Chief Smith is thoughtful, detail-oriented, accountable, compassionate, and fair,” said Mayor Stoney, who announced the appointment at a press conference this afternoon at RPD headquarters. “Over the last six months as interim chief, I believe he has demonstrated the dedication to duty, willingness to confront challenges head-on, and commitment to serve the community that our city needs and our residents deserve. I believe he has what it takes to lead the men and women of RPD in a positive direction to protect and serve our community in the spirit of inclusivity and equity that are the foundation of One Richmond.”

After being introduced, Chief Smith said he was humbled and grateful for the support he has received from the city and the community.

“I would like to thank Mayor Levar Stoney and CAO Selena Cuffee-Glenn for their leadership of the city, their support of the Police Department and their faith in me,” said Chief Smith. “I am humbled by the opportunity to serve this city in the capacity of Police Chief.  I, likewise, am overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from the community and I am dedicated to providing the best service to all of Richmond. We are a transparent, community policing organization committed to developing relationships within the city we serve,” Chief Smith continued. “As Mayor Stoney frequently states, we are One Richmond.”

The Mayor’s appointment follows an extensive national search and recruitment process that included, for the first time in recent memory, weeks of community engagement to provide public input into the selection process.

“The chief of police is one of the most important jobs in any city government, requiring skills that go well beyond policing itself,” said Mayor Stoney. “Community engagement is one of the core functions of policing in our city, so that is why it was important that we listened to our residents and prioritized the public input we received in our process. Our search for the best candidate led us back to our own backyard.”

Chief Smith was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1998, lieutenant in 2003, captain in 2007 and major in 2016. He was promoted to deputy chief in 2018. He has served the department in virtually every capacity during the course of his career, from Emergency Communications (2007-2009), to commander of the Third Precinct (2009-2011), to running the Special Operations Division (2011-2016), to the Business Services Division (2016-2017) and serving as chief of staff (2018).

“Chief Smith knows this department inside and out – and he knows and respects the Richmond community he has served for nearly a quarter of a century,” the mayor said.

Chief Smith holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership School at the University of Richmond, as well as the Senior Management Institute for Police in Boston.
A date for a formal swearing-in ceremony will be scheduled in the near future.

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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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