RRHA to disband police force in Richmond neighborhoods

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) is getting rid of its police force.

“We have advised local government officials of this strategic change in the deployment of our services and have taken measures to assure our residents will continue to enjoy the benefits of dedicated security service and protection,” RRHA spokeswoman Osita Iroegbu wrote in an email. The department said it determined the RRHA was better off “providing housing services rather than providing ancillary security services.”

The RRHA manages properties, including government-assisted housing, in some of Richmond’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods. Neighborhoods like Creighton Court. Gilpin Court, Hillside Court and Whicomb Court fall under RRHA jurisdiction.

RRHA also manage property in Church Hill, Highland Park, Jackson Ward and Carver. [Click here for a map of RRHA properties]

RRHA Police worked with the Richmond Police Department to reduce and prevent crime in RRHA neighborhoods, according to the agency’s website.

McKinley Morgan III told CBS6 the department’s closure is a big loss.

Morgan lives in Gilpin Court and said the sound of children playing turns to a much more haunting noise far too often there.

“I seen a shooting right here on the corner once,” Morgan said.

Morgan said public safety in Gilpin Court remains a challenge.

“A lot of gunshots and things like that,” Morgan said.

Now that the gate is closed on RRHA’s Police Department, Morgan fears the worst.

“The incidence of violence will probably go up,” Morgan said.

The Department was created back in 2006 out of RRHA’s public safety office.

Its seven officers were let go Monday at an impromptu meeting.

One officer told CBS6 they were “stunned” by the news and residents said they are equally surprised.

“That’s crazy they need to put it back up…because this is a dangerous neighborhood,” Charmaine Mitchell, who lives in Gilpin Court, said.

Housing authorities are not required to have a police department.

In fact, according to a recent article in the New York Times, New York City’s housing authority pays the city’s police department millions of dollars to patrol its housing projects.

CBS6 tried to ask RRHA if the New York City model might be used here, but a spokeswoman declined to talk to us.

Instead, she sent us a statement saying RRHA will continue to partner with local government for public safety services.

Morgan has a feeling Richmond’s police will now have to do more.

“They’re going to have to pick up the slack,” Morgan said.

 

13 comments

      • athynz

        Glen Allen’s comment is quite relevant as the RRHA is part of the city government which is controlled by mayor Jones. His point stands.

      • Joe Johnson

        athynz, RRHA is under HUD, not the City of Richmond. Love the way you typically make totally bogus statements with an air of authority. Why?

      • athynz

        Joe Johnson – a former employer of mine does work for the RRHA and did so when I worked for them. Our contacts were always at City Hall through a department that was part of the City of Richmond government. HUD may be involved with funding and some oversight but RRHA is under the city’s umbrella. Any other questions?

  • anon

    Didn’t Goolsby do the same thing in Chicago? What was her track record there? Is RRHA destined to follow the same path?

  • Shawn

    This is a mistake. The city is already short staffed, and now this? These neighborhoods will suffer the most.

  • James

    I’m not sure why everyone is acting like this so terrible. The police force had dwindled down to 7 officers and I believe that included the acting chief from Richmond. They had 2 to 3 officers on hand at a time to take care of an entire city’s worth of public housing communities and in addition, did not, despite popular belief, provide 24 hr. law enforcement service. It was an uneccesary expense on the housing authority and they could have been using a portion of the money being spent on operating the department to give to Richmond Police to assist in their staffing needs to handle law enforcement services for these housing developments. Also, Richmond Police were the primary units responding to the calls in the developments and all major incidents, investigations and situations were handled by Richmond Police anyway. I’m saddened to see people lose their jobs, especially in today’s times, but needed to be done.

  • isso

    More hidden, closed door, back room actions, decisions and stances
    Sprung on Residents with NO Executive ever able to stand up, back up or explain and no discussion allowed..
    More “Open Government” from Dysfunction Junction-Richmond.

  • Shawn

    Really? When did you live there? I don’t see too many Richmond police in my neighborhood. They even tell us when they come in they are busy everywhere else to be worrying with us. But no disrespect and your words are valid too. We as the citizens will be the only ones to experience the results good or bad.

  • anon

    Since RRHA is trying to provide for the residents and save money, does that mean that they’ll let the unlicensed lawyer go too or created shifts in maintenance to reduce the excessive overtime? Those two changes alone could’ve saved the PD for another year.

    And James, RPD doesn’t need money from RRHA PD. Ask them about their grants and how much money they got listing RRHA as partners, little of which RRHA saw.

  • me

    The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) is governed by a board of commissioners whom the Richmond City Council appoints.

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