Guiding Force

Alfred Durham has stepped beyond the role of police chief, playing, at various times, mentor, father figure and community activist to the city’s poorest and neediest neighborhoods. But as policing has become personal for him, and as the thin blue line separating his job and his life has become blurred, some, including the chief, are wondering: What is the personal cost?



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Thank you Chief Durham!!!

@Jim T. Obviously you have not been keeping yourself abreast of the violence in Richmond and in particular the shootings/homicides. FYI-More than 75% of the shootings in Richmond take place inside of a residence within public housing-so what do you expect the chief and his officers to do? If you don't know the outreach and community policing the RPD does on a ongoing bases then you are out of touch. Building trust in the community is a two way street and if the residents are not willing to assist the police in ridding their neighborhoods of violence then the community is to blame...not the chief! Why do you think that violent crimes are more prevalent in some parts of Richmond then others? It's because the residents in more affluent neighborhoods will not tolerate criminal activity in their neighborhoods and wont't hesitate to call the police. In affluent neighborhoods the culture of "snitches get stitches" is unheard of. Clearly you are not on the streets of Richmond in some of the roughest neighborhoods, or you would know that on any given day/night Chief Durham, his Command staff and RPD officers are walking in these neighborhoods reaching out to the community, and the only time you see these residence reaching back is when the police department is giving them Thanksgiving baskets, Christmas gifts for their 9 kids, buying back to school clothes for those same 9 kids and don't forget the free summer camps and cookouts throughout the year-all sponsored/hosted by the police department. Unfortunately, the police department is forced to wear many hats that aren't theirs because other agency are totally dysfunctional. So while other agencies (schools, HUD...) continue to fly under the radar the police department is forced to do their jobs. God bless you and thank you Chief Durham and your officers for doing a thankless job with limited resources.

David Y. more than 2 years ago

Chief Durham has a failing grade and should retire

We can only judge success by accomplishments, not effort. By this measure, Chief Durham has a failing grade. If what you are doing is not working, do something different. Community-based policing with officers walking a beat with their cell phone numbers given out on business cards to local residents and business owners/operators. They should be developing long-lasting relationships of trust, not sitting/riding in their patrol cars. Prevention, not reaction is the key. You know when the bars close, you should be there. You know where the hot spots are, you should be there with a force sufficient to deter crime. If you can amass a force to protect 10 knuckleheads from Tennessee at a monument, you can do it for all the residents of Richmond. It is time to change leadership at the RVA PD. Whatever is being done is not working. I don't care how "nice" a guy you are. You are paid to do the job and by every measure you have failed.

Jim T. more than 2 years ago

So you can do better?

@Jim T., your assertions are provably false. Several shootings in the past year have occurred with police in the immediate vicinity, at the exact places and times you suggest (e.g. outside clubs letting out in the wee hours). RPD does do community policing. After cries for the city to do something following the shooting of two teens over the summer, Chief Durham and others went door to door and scheduled a community meeting. A literal handful of people showed up. As he noted then, that was not a team effort. Following another shooting the RTD reported on the fact that one adult was chastised by her teen daughter for advocating "snitching". Remember, snitches get stitches. As long as that is the attitude RPD is fighting crime with one hand tied behind their back.The police usually have to react to violent crime. With a limited force they can't be everywhere and prevent crimes. That's a reality, especially when violent crime is spiking nationally, almost exclusively in communities of color. If we dump a chief because we have a lot of crappy residents engaging in violent behavior, then good luck recruiting a replacement. Community policing starts with the community.

Charles J. more than 2 years ago

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