GPRA Board Convenes Urgent Meeting in Response to Resident Concerns About Crime
On Sunday, December 19, the Ginter Park Residents Association Board convened an urgent meeting to discuss residents’ concerns about recent multiple forced home break-ins, gunshots, and drug-related activities impacting Ginter Park. The majority of the Board voted to craft a letter to Mayor Levar Stoney and all City Council members to advocate for the pay raise for RPD in order to urgently improve officer retention and reruitment.
The following is the letter that members of the 2021 Board majority voted to submit to the Mayor and City Council, which is in keeping with our Mission to improve our neighborhood and our Vision to promote public safety. If you wish to send a letter to the Mayor or to City Council, you may utilize the links in the Distribution List table.
December 20, 2021
To: The Honorable Levar Stoney, Mayor of the City of Richmond
Members of Richmond City Council
[See attached distribution list]
Re: Advocacy for Pay Increase for RPD
Mr. Mayor, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Ginter Park Residents Association (GPRA), and on behalf of the more than 4000 residents who reside within our service boundaries. Our Board of Directors convened an urgent meeting December 19, 2021, to discuss residents’ concerns regarding the increase in crime, violent crimes and gun violence in our neighborhood and throughout the city. We noted the more than 80 homocides and the more than 230 shootings that have occurred thus far in 2021. Residents in the northern portion of our neighborhood have alerted GPRA and the Richmond Police Department (RPD) 4th Precinct leadership of more frequent gunfire, as well as increased drug-related activity along the Chamberlayne Avenue corridor. Within the past few days, multiple forced breaking and enterings occurred in Ginter Park.
We are heartened by your comments acknowledging the recent spike in violent crime in the city and forecasting solutions in 2022 for increasing retention and recruitment to fill the more than 120 RPD vacancies. However, any further delays or failure to raise RPD wages to a level that at least matches the surrounding counties is very concerning. RPD officers and our community are at greater risk as a result of chronic poor retention and morale that is directly related to sub-standard wages and under-staffing.
With the added pressures of recent times, problems with recruitment and retention have escalated. New RPD recruits currently have a starting salary that is $9,000 less that new recruits in Henrico County. RPD officers with 3 to 5 years of training and experience earn less than new recruits in Henrico County. We understand there is a pay study in process, but spending city tax dollars on a study is not required to conclude that there is an urgent need for an immediate, significant increase in RPD salaries.
Before the city budget for 2022-2023 is finalized, we ask that you reevaluate spending priorities and authorize pay raises for RPD to bring their pay to competitive levels as of January 1, 2022 in an attempt to improve morale, halt the exodus of officers and to improve recruitment outcomes. Morale and retention issues are not the fault of any one individual, but are the fault of chronic insufficient pay and stressful working conditions.
While we understand that there are many competing community needs for city funds, public safety is a first priority that needs yours and City Council’s immediate attention. We look forward to your response.
President, Ginter Park Residents Association
Attachments: DISTRIBUTION LIST
|The Honorable Levar Stoney||RVAmayor@richmondgov.com|
|RICHMOND CITY COUNCIL|
|The Honorable Katherine L. Jordanfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honorable Andreas D. Addisonemail@example.com|
|The Honorable Ann-Frances Lambertfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honorable Kristen Nye Larsonemail@example.com|
|The Honorable Stephanie A. Lynchfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson||Ellen.Robertson@richmondgov.com|
|The Honorable Cynthia I. Newbille||Cynthia.Newbille@richmondgov.com|
|The Honorable Reva M. Trammell||Reva.Trammell@richmondgov.com|
|The Honorable Michael J. Jonesemail@example.com|