In her first 6th District meeting of the year, Richmond Councilwoman Ellen Robertson wanted to talk about the culture of policing in the city.
“The objective is two fold: That is to build greater trust in our community as it relates to policing. But also work on our behavior when those blue lights come on behind us,” she said.
Robertson says many times people are arrested for minor crimes because residents are resistant or threatened. She says it’s important to know your rights when you do get approached or pulled over by police.
“Your charge can be resisting arrest, not cooperating with the police. and sometimes citizens don’t recognize what the authority is of the police.”
Richmond Chief of Police Ray Tarasovic spoke about challenges officers face every day. He says they’ve been trying to reach out to young people, because they’re usually the ones who have negative perceptions of police.
“But the only way we can prove that that’s not true, is by developing those relationships,” said Tarasovic to the crowd.
He says to do that, they need the community’s trust, something police say has helped them lower crime rates.
“10 years ago, this city had 20,000 major crimes!” He said.
Last year, that number was 9,800. He says he thinks that figure will keep dropping with the help of community outreach programs.
“Be engaged. Because guess what? We police can’t do it by ourselves, I can tell you that,” said RPD Deputy Chief Alfred Durham.
The department will have a public forum at the Police Training Academy on February 10.