RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Richmond Police Department is one step closer to receiving extra funding from the city.
Richmond’s public safety standing committee recommended for approval $1.6 million to be reallocated to RPD. The money would allow the department to fund 20 new officer recruits.
That funding would come from health savings benefits and increased revenues from Rocketts Landing.
Tuesday night, there was a line of people waiting to speak to show their support for the Richmond Police Department.
While the committee showed their support with a vote, it was the citizens who made the impact.
“To hear the conversation the comments from the men and women who came to give testimony before council tonight it does my heart good,” said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham.
Chief Durham made his plea Tuesday night to receive extra funding from city council, but a line of supporters wanted to make sure he knew he wasn’t fighting this battle alone.
“Public safety is everybody’s business and the police can’t do it all by themselves,” said Cheryl Nici-O’Connell with Richmond United for Law Enforcement.
She said hiring more officers is crucial for helping not just the department deal with the workload, but for helping the city.
“When we don’t have enough officers out on the street it’s the community’s safety at risk,” Nici-O’Connell said.
Chris Gobble, the owner of Home Team Grill, spoke at the meeting to show how public safety impacts local business.
“I’m really concerned about safety and response time but not just for the local businesses but for the officers themselves,” Chris Gobble said. “I’m concerned about officer safety.”
He added that he believes every business owner should be supporting police.
“There’s really nothing more important than the safety of our citizens and our businesses,” said Gobble.
While Tuesday night was a positive outcome, Chief Durham said this is just the beginning to getting the department where it needs to be.
“We have to stop using these Band-Aid approaches to fix the problem. Get me up to full staffing, let’s identify funding to increase our officer salary to keep that retention here,” said Chief Durham.
Final approval for the funding will be voted on at a special city council meeting on December 5th.