The Richmond Police Department hopes to expand its closed-circuit surveillance system in the city’s Southern District, with a camera likely to be installed in the area where a fatal officer-involved shooting occurred last weekend.
RPD’s CCTV cameras have already been installed in some high crime districts, including the Iron Triangle, and have contributed to a number of arrests.
In April, a suspect was busted for performing doughnuts in a stolen vehicle at an Iron Triangle intersection because retired officers were monitoring the area via a CCTV camera. Several years ago, a suspect in the near-fatal beating of a man at S. 37th Street and Wall Avenue was located and arrested with help from the surveillance system, police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.
In City Council agenda documents from Tuesday’s meeting, RPD said it planned to expand the CCTV system to high crime areas in the Southern District. While police decline to provide exact locations for the cameras, fearing they may be damaged or tampered with, Abetkov said Wednesday it is “safe to assume” one will be installed in the general location of Uncle Sam’s Liquors near Cutting and Carlson boulevards.
That’s the site where 24-year-old Richard Perez was fatally shot by an officer during a struggle Sunday. The incident was only partially captured via a security camera inside the liquor store. A camera outside the store could have made the events that led up to the shooting less ambiguous.
“We’ve had a couple of homicides there in the past,” Abetkov said, adding the store had its license suspended earlier this year for violations. “There are always people who are intoxicated hanging out in front.”
As part of the police response to Sunday’s incident, Chief Chris Magnus also said the department wants officers to wear body cameras by 2015. Magnus stated:
“The department has been testing and evaluating different models and types of body-cameras over the past several months. We are now in the process of purchasing the cameras and developing the policies needed to put them into operation. We are planning on implementing the body-cams by early 2015. All patrol officers and a select group of other personnel (such as officers on a SWAT assignment or involved in serving a search warrant) will utilize the body-cams.”