Rick Edwards, Richmond's interim police chief, hopes to 'become next chief'

Community Activist Charles Willis, Richmond Acting Deputy Chief Sybil El-Amin and Richmond Interim Police Chief Rick Edwards.
Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-07 20:37:24-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Rick Edwards, who has been Richmond's interim police chief since late October, said he hopes to become the top cop permanently after city officials announced Thursday they were accepting applications for position.

"After taking some time to receive feedback from residents, community partners, and stakeholders about what they would like to see in the next Police Chief, the city is poised for a new beginning and is steadfast in recruiting and attracting topnotch professionals who possess ingenuity, ethics, integrity, and a passion for the people of Richmond," city officials wrote in a news release.

As a result, the city has created a new job description, with the help of consulting firm, calling for a candidate with a "history of implementing 21st-century policing strategies" who is an "effective and inspiring leader who is approachable, technologically savvy, and solutions driven. "

The salary for the job ranges from $155,234 to $247,986, officials said.

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Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards

In an email from officials with Richmond Police on Friday, Edwards wrote that after "several frank conversations" with his wife that he decided to apply for the job.

The acting chief said he hoped to offer "direction and stability for the department" when he stepped into the role after Gerald Smith's resignation in late October.

"I wanted to give City Leadership the time it needed to find the right Chief to lead our department into the future," Edwards wrote. "Over the past 5+ months, I have done my level best to stabilize things and put us on the pathway to success. While my time in this role has been challenging, I can tell you all that it has also been very rewarding. I am extremely proud to have had the opportunity to lead such fine men and women."

Richmond's Chief Administrative Officer Lincoln Saunders said Edwards understood he was "providing stability and continuity in the department" when he was appointed.

"I am looking forward to his solution-based leadership and team-building style which will be key to advancing the department," Saunders wrote in October.

Smith resigned following months of public turmoil. The Richmond Coalition of Police (RCOP), a union that represents hundreds of personnel, called for changes to the leadership of the department.

Additionally, some members of Richmond City Council said they had heard complaints from officers about low morale that began during the civil unrest of 2020 and continued under the leadership of former Police Chief Smith.

Smith also faced scrutiny earlier this year regarding the handling of an alleged mass shooting plot that was planned for the Fourth of July.

ALSO READ: What we know about the alleged July 4 mass shooting investigation in Richmond

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