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Humberto Cardounel announces retirement as Henrico’s chief of police

Henrico County Chief of Police Humberto “Hum” Cardounel Jr. announced on Monday his plans to retire effective Sept. 1, ending a nearly 32-year career with the Police Division and four-year tenure as its leader.

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Henrico County Chief of Police Humberto “Hum” Cardounel Jr. announced on Monday his plans to retire effective Sept. 1, ending a nearly 32-year career with the Police Division and four-year tenure as its leader.

Cardounel revealed his plans and underscored his gratitude to Henrico in an email to division staff, recalling how he applied to only Henrico when he sought to become a police officer. He announced no immediate plans and said he has concluded “it is time for me to pass the torch onto the next generation of police leadership.”

Cardounel said he will take advantage of Henrico’s Voluntary Retirement Incentive Program. A cost-cutting measure available during the COVID-19 pandemic, the program offers enhanced benefits to eligible employees who choose to retire.

“I started this career as a 21-year-old college graduate with little thought as to what the future held for me,” Cardounel said in his email. “I thought I would do this for just a few years, but it wasn’t long after that I realized this was my ‘home’. It felt right, Henrico was the right place for me. Nearly 32 years later Henrico is still my home and still the right place for me.”

County Manager John A. Vithoulkas praised Cardounel for his “more than three decades of outstanding service and his calm, steady leadership as chief.”

“Hum has left an irreplaceable mark on Henrico and its Police Division, having served in nearly every facet of the agency’s work throughout his long, distinguished career,” Vithoulkas said. “Hum also has demonstrated what it means to serve with heart, and Henrico is stronger, safer and eternally grateful that he selected our community as his home.”

Cardounel joined the division as a patrol officer and a SWAT Team medic in 1988. He rose through the ranks to investigator and later sergeant, command sergeant, lieutenant, captain and major. He served as deputy chief for the Patrol Bureau, led the Criminal Investigations Section, developed and implemented the Homeland Security Section, and provided leadership and service to the Training Academy, Internal Affairs Unit, Media Relations Unit, Organized Crime Section and Personnel Unit. Before his promotion to chief in 2016, Cardounel served as deputy chief for the Investigative Bureau and a member of the chief’s executive staff.

As chief, Cardounel oversees an agency responsible for providing law enforcement for Henrico’s more than 331,000 residents and a community covering 244 square miles. The division has a staff of 863 sworn and unsworn personnel and a budget of $81 million for fiscal 2019-20. Cardounel is the 16th individual to serve as Henrico police chief since 1915.

He is a graduate of Douglas S. Freeman High School and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond and a master’s degree in public administration from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Henrico plans to conduct a national search for its next police chief and expects an appointment by Sept. 1.

“What this County has done for me over my career is immeasurable,” Cardounel said. “I only hope that I have been able to give something back and that in some small way I have helped move us forward. What my HCPD family has done for me I can never repay.”

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Richmond Police Chief William Smith resigns at request of Mayor Levar Stoney

Taking Smith’s place will be Major William “Jody” Blackwell, who will serve as Interim Chief. Blackwell has worked for the department for over 16 years, according to the city.

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The Richmond Police Department’s top brass has stepped down at the request of Mayor Levar Stoney. Following several recent nights of protests during which police pepper-sprayed and fired rubber bullets at protesters, the mayor called for Chief William Smith to step down.

“He has served this city with grace but we are ready to move it in a new direction,” Mayor Stoney said in a statement. “I have high expectations of the Richmond Police Department. And at a minimum I expect them to be willing to come around the table with the community to reform and reimagine public safety.”

Taking Smith’s place will be Major William “Jody” Blackwell will serve as Interim Chief. Blackwell has worked for the department for over 16 years, according to the city.

“Interim Chief Blackwell is willing and able to focus on necessary public safety reform, healing, and trust-building within the community,” Stoney continued.

The mayor went on to outline a collaborative path forward. He indicated he has spoken to Council President Newbille, and will follow up with a letter, outlining a request that City Council work with the administration, the interim chief, and the community to develop legislation to create a citizen review board.

“My hope is that City Council will be proactive in collaborating with me and community leaders in all nine of their districts to craft a citizen review board with complete community buy-in,” he said.

He also indicated he will sign the Obama Pledge for Mayors, which commits the city to reevaluating its use of force policy. Beyond the immediate changes of strengthening the Richmond Police Department’s ban on chokeholds and duty to intervene policy, that pledge includes the creation of the Richmond Task Force on Reimagining Public Safety.

The task force will bring more than 20 individuals from the activist, legal, academic, law enforcement, behavioral health and other communities together to agree on a set of actionable steps forward within 90 days of the first meeting.

“The mission of this task force will be to make public safety recommendations that build toward equity and justice. Using a restorative justice framework, we can reimagine public safety to create a truly safer city for all – meaning both the members of the community and the officers that serve the community.”

Currently, police officers are asked to respond to every type of crisis, from homelessness to mental health crises. The mayor noted that reimagining public safety in the City of Richmond must include designing an emergency response system and empowering a social safety net that meets these needs.

“We can’t expect our police officers to serve as social workers, psychologists, and juvenile trauma experts, intervening in these situations because America hasn’t properly prioritized other service providers. It does not make our country, or our city, safer.”

“One thing is clear after the past two weeks: Richmond is ready to reimagine public safety. There’s work to be done, so if you have been out on the streets, I invite you to join us at the table. I want to incorporate your experience and turn your pain into progress.”

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Hanover man arrested after driving through group of protesters in Lakeside

Harry H. Rogers, 36, was charged with assault and battery. He hit a man on a cargo bike who suffered minor injuries but refused treatment.

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A Hanover County man has been arrested after using his vehicle to drive through a group of protesters in Lakeside Sunday night, and it was all caught on camera.

Henrico Police say they received a call at about 5:45 PM saying someone had driven through a group of protesters on Lakeside Avenue near Vale Street.

Harry H. Rogers, 36, was charged with assault and battery. He hit a man on a cargo bike who suffered minor injuries but refused treatment.

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Victim identified in Arthur Ashe Boulevard homicide

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

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The Richmond Police Department is investigating a homicide that occurred last night on the city’s north side.

At approximately 1:43 a.m., Tuesday, June 2nd, RPD officers were called to the Rodeway Inn in the 3200 block of N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard for a report of a person shot. They quickly located a victim, Jermaine R. Stroman, 30, of Chester, VA lying in a third floor hallway. He had been shot.

He was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:55 a.m.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact Detective G. Bailey at (804) 646-6743 or Crime Stoppers at (804) 780-1000 or www.7801000.com or the P3 smartphone app. All Crime Stoppers methods are anonymous.

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