Edwards is the fourth police chief to serve Richmond in the last 3 years

Posted at 1:23 AM, Jul 20, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond Police Chief Rick Edwards will be the fourth chief the department has had over the last three years.

Major shifts in the department began following Richmond following the death of George Floyd.

CBS 6 was there from the initial moments that the City of Richmond named Rick Edwards Interim Chief of Richmond Police last October.

CBS 6 had to capture it through the glass as it came following the sudden resignation of then-Chief Gerald Smith on Oct. 25. CBS 6 spoke with Smith earlier that afternoon before the announcement.

We asked him why he had skipped a public safety meeting earlier in the afternoon, to which he had responded that he was instructed not to be there.

Smith stepped down following months of public turmoil.

Richmond leaders had expressed concerns over the state of public safety, the police union had called for changes in leadership because of low morale, and there was scrutiny from earlier in 2022 regarding the handling of an alleged mass shooting plot that was planned for the Fourth of July — that the commonwealth’s attorney now said there was no evidence of.

Smith held the position from June 2020 to October 2022.

Prior to Smith was Interim Chief Jody Blackwell. He held the position for just 10 days.

He stepped down following receiving backlash from the community for his involvement in a 2002 shooting. Artist Trey Songz led much of the charge.

Blackwell was not found to have any wrongdoing in that shooting and is currently employed in the department again.

Edwards said they are happy he is back on the team and that everyday he is proving why he is moving up the ranks.

Prior to Blackwell, Chief William Smith held the role for 10 months.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney asked for and then received his resignation after weeks of protests in Richmond against police brutality and the death of George Floyd. During that time he also had apologized after Richmond Police officers who launched tear gas into a crowd of peaceful protesters.

Edwards has served as interim chief for nine months, but has been with the department for more than 20 years.

In those nine months he has worked to improve trust, shown a commitment to service and led the city through the graduation day mass shooting in May.

Edwards recently participated in the CBS 6 "Stop the Violence" town hall where he shed light on where the city is with crime and what needs to change.

You can watch his responses here.

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