RICHMOND, Va. – Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones appointed Alfred Durham, a former deputy chief, as the city’s next police chief, during a news conference Monday afternoon.
Durham has served in the force since 1987 and first worked under Rodney Monroe in Richmond, starting in 2005. He left in 2007 and served as the assistant chief of the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department.
He was the first in his family to join the military and he served as a Marine infantryman for four years active and 13 years reserve.
The new chief will earn an annual salary of $165,000.
News that Ray Tarasovic, the city’s outgoing police chief, was stepping down came as no surprise in January, since he came out of retirement about two years ago to fill a void after the mayor booted previous chief, Bryan Norwood, a last-minute appointment by former mayor L. Douglas Wilder.
Charles Willis, an advocate with Citizens Against Crime, said that whoever gets the job must continue to build trust in the community.
“Picking a new chief is extremely important especially at this time because we have so many issues that we need to address,” Willis said. Willis also pointed out that Monday's announcement is important for the mayor. That’s because it will be a big part of his legacy since he has just a few years left in office.
The annual homicide rate in Richmond continues its downward trend — though there were five more murders in 2014 compared to 2013.
In the mayor’s recent State of the City address, Jones said the city has the lowest crime rate he’s seen since he moved here, and he credited outgoing Police Chief Ray Tarasovic.
The recent months of December and January saw only one homicide per month, a statistic not often seen and one that has only occurred twice since at least twice since 1992.
The homicide rate began to decline during former Chief Rodney Monroe’s term, appointed in 2005, and he was the chief that divided the city into 12 specific policing sectors. Policing under former Chief Bryan Norwood, appointed in 2008, kept the homicide rate declining in Richmond. Chief Tarasovic was appointed in 2013.
There were 42 homicides in 2014, and 37 in 2013. Since 2008, there has been an average of 39 homicides annually.
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