Faith leaders upset about police chief’s exit

Posted at 8:35 PM, Feb 12, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -- After months of speculation, Richmond Police Chief Bryan Norwood has resigned under a cloud of controversy. Controversy that included supervising Chris Brown's community service and the police overtime lawsuit.

But supporters, like the Faith Leadership Council's  Butch Johnson, said Norwood has always provided strong leadership for them and his department.

“I’m saddened by the news. Obviously, we’ve spent a lot of effort in trying to keep him here in Richmond because we’ve seen the results of what he’s done,” Johnson said. “He has a heart of compassion for the people. And that compels him to go beyond what you expect would out of a police chief."

Faith-based leaders credit Chief Norwood with reducing crime and keeping morale high in the department during a tough economy.

One Richmond City Councilperson, the 3rd district's Chris Hilbert, echoed those words saying "Norwood did a good job and did move us forward."

Hilbert said he and his colleagues didn't learn about Norwood’s replacement until after the mayor’s announcement, but that the city council is not involved in hiring decisions.

"We do have the power to appoint and to veto a nomination for CAO, but the other personnel decisions of the city are those of the mayor -- and I respect that,” Hilbert.

But for some city residents, it’s not that simple.

When word spread that Chief Norwood may be leaving, Torrence started a petition drive in hopes of keeping him around.

“He comes down and meets face to face. He’s not sitting upon some thrown…being the chief," Torrence said. "He comes down, he brings his team down and it’s a whole different rapport with the citizens now."

Members of the Faith-based community tell CBS 6, they will work with the new chief, Ray Tarasovic. In fact, they said Tarasovic has already reached out to them.

Stacy Rogers, President of Richmond Coalition of Police, released a statement to CBS 6 News:

Sad to see Chief Norwood go. But think he’s been a good Chief. RCOP has developed a good relationship with us, and look forward to working with Ray Tarasovic in continuing that relationship make Richmond a safer and better place to live.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Richmond police chief exits, mayor names new chief