by Allwyn Brown, Deputy Chief
Widespread media coverage and associated images documenting Chief Magnus and Richmond Police Department senior leaders’ presence at a recent peaceful assembly of community members along Macdonald Avenue in Richmond advancing social statements against police use of excessive force has aroused considerable public feedback. As we process continuing conversations about police use of force and the state of police/community relations over the weeks and months to come, reflecting on some of the relevant founding principles of American policing may help advance the discussion.
• The ability of the police to perform their duties depends on public approval of police existence, actions, behavior and the ability of the police to secure and keep public respect.
• Police should maintain a relationship with the public that reinforces the idea that the police are the public and the public are the police . . .
• Police exist to prevent crime and disorder as an alternative to military force and severe legal punishment.
• The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not visible evidence of police action dealing with it.
– Sir Robert Peel, 1829
Effective policing depends on real community participation and relationships of mutual trust and respect. We remain open to community feedback and engagement, and we will continue to seek out new and better ways to prevent crime and maintain order in Richmond.