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Meet the people tasked with reimagining public safety in Richmond

Posted at 10:56 AM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 17:52:51-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney introduced members of the newly-formed Task Force to Reimagine Public Safety during a press conference at Richmond City Hall on Friday.

He said the task force's main objectives were to:

  • Review Richmond Police use of force policies
  • Explore approaches to public safety that use a human services lens
  • Prioritize community healing and engagement

“There is a lot of work ahead of us, but this group’s diversity of expertise and lived experiences is a key asset on our path forward,” Mayor Stoney said. “I am thrilled to have this team help our city heal.”

The mayor formed the task force amid calls for his resignation over the way Richmond Police responded to protests against racial injustice following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Richmond Police Chief William Smith resigned during that time. Richmond has since hired a new police chief, Gerald Smith, from Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nationwide, there have been calls for cities to re-think the job of public safety officers are asked to do on a daily basis and adjust funding accordingly.

“We need a new process for noncriminal and nonviolent calls for service, and that will be a top priority for this task force,” Stoney said. “We must center compassion instead of consequences.”

Stoney said the task force, made up of activists, law enforcement officers, lawyers, professors, healthcare professionals, and others will present their suggestions to the mayor in about 45 days.

“After additional conversations and review of actions taken in other cities, I do not believe we can wait to begin acting on reform recommendations,” Stoney said.

Members of the Task Force

Sergeant Carol Adams, Richmond Police Department
Ram Bhagat, Manager of School Culture and Climate Strategy for Richmond Public Schools
Glenwood Burley, retired Richmond Police Department officer
Keisha Cummings, community engagement specialist, founder of 2LOVE LLC, member of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project and the Richmond Peace Team
Torey Edmonds, Community Outreach Coordinator at VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development
Professor Daryl Fraser, VCU School of Social Work professor and licensed clinical social worker
Triston Harris, Black Lives Matters organizer and organizer of the 5,000 Man March Against Racism
Birdie Hairston Jamison, former district court judge for the 13th Judicial District in Virginia
Councilman Mike Jones, Richmond City Council
Shanel Lewis, Youth Violence Prevention Specialist at the Richmond City Health District
Brandon Lovee, Richmond artist and advocate, member of the Richmond Peace Team
Colette McEachin, Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney
Reverend Dontae McCutchen, Love Cathedral Community Church
Dr. Lisa Moon, Associate Provost at VUU and former Director of the Center for the Study of the Urban Child
Sergeant Brad Nixon, Richmond Police Department
Tracy Paner, Public Defender for the City of Richmond
Bill Pantele, Richmond attorney and former City Council Member
Professor William Pelfrey, VCU professor with expertise in emergency preparedness and policing
Councilwoman Ellen Robertson, Richmond City Council
Rodney Robinson, National Teacher of the Year and teacher at the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center
Patrice Shelton, Community Health Worker in Hillside Court and director of the Hillside Court Partnership
Lashawnda Singleton, President of the Richmond Association of Black Social Workers
Sheba Williams, Executive Director of NoLef Turns
Courtney Winston, Richmond trial attorney

The task force's meetings will not be open to the public.