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Richmond City Council unanimously passes one-time bonuses for first-responders

Richmond City Council unanimously passes one-time bonuses for first-responders
Posted at 11:43 PM, Dec 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-13 23:43:07-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Richmond City Council unanimously passed one-time bonuses for public safety employees at a Monday night meeting.

The money for the bonuses will come from $5 million set aside from the American Rescue Plan Act.

"Since last year, last June of 2021. This is 2021, us council members have been working very, very hard for the police to get them their bonuses, to get them more in pay."

While the bonuses are for all eligible public safety employees, the conversation briefly shifted to police, specifically after a citizen referenced a recent Crime Insider Problem Solvers Investigation during public comment.

"I wanted to share my concern about a recent article I read," John Gusto, who lives in Richmond, said.

The story explored the decision made by a former Richmond Police officer to leave the city after three years and transfer to work as an officer in Henrico County. To read and watch the full Problem Solvers Investigation, click here.

"If we want to attract the best quality of police recruits and to retain good officers, we have to be competitive with our surrounding counties," Gusto said.

Gusto addressed a portion of the Problem Solvers Investigation in which the officer at the center of the story said a couple of city council members made the police look like the bad guys.

"We can support the police by not only paying them a competitive wage but by our words of support and appreciation," Gusto said.

Councilwoman Reeva Trammell said these bonuses are just one way that Richmond is demonstrating their support for law enforcement.

"I just want to thank the speaker, you know, that did take his time. I knew the police officer that left, she was one of the best of the best. And now, Henrico has taken her. But I just want to clear it up that all nine of us are working very, very hard along with you," Trammell said.

In that Crime Insider report, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said that he is working on pay and other issues to improve the overall quality of life for officers and other public safety officials.

Additionally, a compensation study is underway right now. As far as the bonuses go, a city councilman said that they will be paid $3,000 before taxes on December 23.